Ja 24 Ājaññajātaka
The Story about the (Horse) that was Bred Well (1s)

A similar story to the previous one, but this time involving a pair of warhorses. In the present a monk easily gives up striving, to encourage him the Buddha tells a story of a pair of warhorses who strove on and helped capture seven enemy kings for their own king, even though it eventually cost one of them his life. Before dying he also ensured justice for the captors.

The Bodhisatta = the horse (assa),
Ānanda = the king (of Benares) (rājā).

Keywords: Perserverence, Justice, Animals.

“No matter when or where.” This story was told by the Teacher while at Jetavana about another monk who gave up persevering. But, in this case, he addressed that monk and said: “Monks, in bygone days the wise and good still persevered even when wounded.” And, so saying, he told this story of the past.

In the past when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, there were seven kings who encompassed the city, just as in the foregoing story.

So a warrior who fought from a chariot harnessed two Sindh horses (a pair of brothers), and, sallying from the city, broke down six camps and captured six kings. Just at this juncture the elder horse was wounded. On drove the charioteer till he reached the king’s gate, where he took the elder brother out of the chariot, and, after unfastening the horse’s mail as he lay upon one side, set to work to arm another horse. Realising the warrior’s intent, the Bodhisatta had the same thoughts pass through his head as in the foregoing story, and sending for the charioteer, repeated this verse, as he lay:

1. “No matter when or where, in weal or woe,
The thoroughbred fights on; the hack gives in.”

The charioteer had the Bodhisatta set on his feet and harnessed. Then he broke down the seventh camp and took prisoner the seventh king, with whom he drove away {1.182} to the king’s gate, and there took out the noble horse. As he lay upon one side, the Bodhisatta gave the same counsels to the king as in the foregoing story, and then expired. The king had the body burned with all respect, lavished honours on the charioteer, and [1.64] after ruling his kingdom in righteousness passed away to fare thereafter according to his deeds.

His lesson ended, the Teacher preached the Truths, at the close whereof that monk became an Arahat; and identified the Jātaka by saying: “The elder Ānanda was the king, and the Perfect Buddha was the horse of those days.”