Ja 192 Sirikāḷakaṇṇijātaka cf. Tibetan Tales, xxi. pp. 291-5, “How a Woman Requites Love.”
The Story about Good and Bad Luck (2s)
There is no present day story. In the past an unlucky young man, after completing his studies, is given a very beautiful maiden to wife, but he scorns her, and the king takes her to wife instead. Later on the road the queen sees her former husband and despises him with a smile. The Bodhisatta explains why.
The Bodhisatta = (paṇḍita) Mahosadha.
Past Source: Ja 546 Mahā-ummagga,
Quoted at: Ja 192 Sirikāḷakaṇṇi.
Keywords: Fortune, Suitability, Women.
“Should a woman be virtuous and fair,” [I have updated this quotation to fit with the translation.] This story will be given in the Mahā-ummaggajātaka [Ja 546].
Now a lad Piṅguttara living in Mithilā came to Taxila, and studied under a famous teacher, and soon completed his education; then after diligent study he proposed to take leave of his teacher and go. But in this teacher’s family there was a custom, that if there should be a daughter ripe for marriage she should be given to the eldest pupil. This teacher had a daughter beautiful as a Devakaññā, so he said: “My son, I will give you my daughter and you shall take her with you.” Now this lad was unfortunate and unlucky, but the girl was very lucky. When he saw her he did not care for her; but though he said so, he agreed, not wishing to disregard his master’s words, and the brahmin married the daughter to him. Night came, when he lay upon the prepared bed; no sooner had she got into the bed than up he got groaning and lay down upon the floor. She got out and lay beside him, then he got up and went to bed again; when she came into the bed again he got out – for ill luck cannot mate with good luck. So the girl stayed in bed and he stayed on the ground. Thus they spent seven days. Then he took leave of his teacher and departed taking her with him.
On the road there was not so much as an exchange of talk between them. Both unhappy they came to Mithilā. Not far from the town, Piṅguttara saw a fig tree covered with fruit, and being hungry he climbed up and ate some of the figs. The girl also being hungry came to the foot of the tree and called out, “Throw down some fruit for me too.” “What!” says he, “have you no hands or feet? Climb up and get it yourself.” She climbed up also and ate. No sooner did he see that she had climbed than he came down quickly, and piled thorns around the tree, and made off saying to himself, “I have got rid of the miserable woman at last.” She could not get down, but remained sitting where she was.
Now the king, who had been amusing himself in the forest, was coming back to town on his elephant in the evening time when he saw her, and fell in love; so he sent to ask had she a husband or no. She replied, “Yes, I have a husband to whom my family gave me; but he has gone away and left me here alone.” The courtier told this tale to the king, who said: “Treasure trove belongs to the Crown.” She was brought down and placed on the elephant and conveyed to the palace, where she was sprinkled with the water of consecration as his queen consort. Dear and darling she was to him; and the name Udumbarā or queen Fig was given to her because he first saw her upon a fig tree.
One day after this, they who dwelt by the city gate had to clean the road for the king to go disporting into his park; and Piṅguttara, who had to earn his living, tucked up his clothes and set to work clearing the road with a hoe. Before the road was clean the king with queen Udumbarā came along in a chariot; and the queen seeing the wretch clearing the road could not restrain her triumph, but smiled to see the wretch there. The king was angry to see her smile, and asked why she did so. “My lord,” she said, “that road-cleaner fellow is my former husband, who made me climb up the fig tree and then piled thorns about it and left me; when I saw him I could not help feeling triumphant at my good fortune, and smiled to see the wretch there.” The king said: “You lie, you laughed at someone else, and I will kill you!” And he drew his sword. She was alarmed and said: “Sire, pray ask your wise men!” The king asked Senaka whether he believed her. “No, my lord, I do not,” said Senaka, “for who would leave such a woman if he once possessed her?” When she heard this she was more frightened than ever. But the king thought: “What does Senaka know about it? I will ask the sage,” and asked him reciting this verse:
1. “Should a woman be virtuous and fair, and a man not desire her – do you believe it Mahosadha?”
The sage replied:
2. “O king, I do believe it: the man would be an unlucky wretch; good luck and ill luck never can mate together.”
last updated: November 2021