Ja 294 Jambukhādakajātaka Compare Æsop’s fable of the Fox and the Crow.
The Story about eating Jambu Plums (3s)

In the present Devadatta goes round praising his disciple and the disciple praises Devadatta in return, all to seek gains from the layfolk. The Buddha tells a story of a jackal who, wanting a fruit, praised a crow, and how they were scared away.

The Bodhisatta = the Tree Devatā (Rukkhadevatā),
Kokālika = the crow (kāka),
Devadatta = the jackal (sigāla).

Present Source: Ja 294 Jambukhādaka,
Quoted at: Ja 295 Anta.

Keywords: Deceit, Self-praise, Devas, Animals, Birds.

“Who is it sits.” [2.299] This story the Teacher told at the Bamboo Grove, about Devadatta and Kokālika. At the time when Devadatta began to lose his gains and his repute, Kokālika went from house to house, saying: “Elder Devadatta is born of the line of the first great king, of the royal stock of Okkāka, A fabulous king, the same as Ikshvāku. See refs. in Journal of the Pali Text Society 1888, p. 17. by an uninterrupted noble descent, versed in all the scriptures, having attained Absorption, sweet of speech, a preacher of the Dhamma. Give to the elder, help him!” In these words he praised Devadatta.

On the other hand, Devadatta praised Kokālika, in such words as these, “Kokālika comes from a northern brahmin family; he follows the ascetic life; he is learned in Dhamma, a preacher of the Dhamma. Give to Kokālika, help him!” So they went about, praising each other, and getting fed in different houses.

One day the monks began to talk about it in the Dhamma Hall. “Friend, Devadatta and Kokālika go about praising each other for virtues which they haven’t got, and so getting food.” The Teacher came in, and asked what they were talking about as they sat there. They told him. Said he, “Monks, this is not the first time that these men have got food by praising each other. Long ago they did the same,” and he told them a story.

In the past, when Brahmadatta was king of Benares, the Bodhisatta became a Tree Devatā in a certain Jambu plum grove. {2.439} A crow perched upon a branch of his tree, and began to eat the fruit. Then came a jackal, and looked up and spied the crow. He thought: “If I flatter this creature, perhaps I shall get some of the fruit to eat!” So in flattery he repeated the first verse:

1. “Who is it sits in a Jambu plum tree –
Sweet singer! Whose voice trickles gently to me?
Like a young peacock she coos with soft grace,
And ever sits still in her place.”

The crow, in his praise, responded with the second:

2. “He that is noble in breeding and birth
Can praise others’ breeding, knows what they are worth.
Like a young tiger you seemest to be:
Come, eat, sir, what I give to thee!”

With these words she shook the branch and made some fruit drop. [2.300]

Then the Devatā of the tree, beholding these two eating, after flattering each other, repeated the third verse:

3. “Liars foregather, I very well know.
Here, for example, a carrion crow,
And corpse-eating jackal, with puerile chatter
Proceed one another to flatter!”

After repeating this verse, the Tree Devatā, assuming a fearful shape, scared them both away.

When the Teacher had ended this discourse, he summed up the Jātaka, “At that time the jackal was Devadatta, the crow was Kokālika, but the spirit of the Tree was I myself.”