Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
HOW THE ANTELOPE WAS CAUGHT
ONCE upon a time the King of Benares had a gardener named
Sanjaya. Now, a swift antelope who had come to the
garden took to flight as soon as it saw Sanjaya. But
Sanjaya did not frighten it away; and when it had
come again and again it began to walk about in the
garden. And day by day the gardener used to pluck the
various fruits and flowers in the garden and take them
away to the King.
Now, one day the King asked him: "I say, friend gardener,
is there anything strange in the garden so far as youíve noticed?"
"Iíve noticed nothing, O King, save that an antelope is
in the habit of coming and wandering about there. That I
"But could you catch it?"
"If I had a little honey I could bring it right inside the
The King gave him the honey; and he took it, went to the
garden, smeared it on the grass at the spot the antelope
frequented, and hid himself. When the deer came and had
eaten the honey-smeared grass, it was bound with the lust
of taste; and from that time went nowhere else, but came
exclusively to the garden. And as the gardener saw that it
was allured by the honey-smeared grass, he in due course
showed himself. For a few days the antelope took to flight
on seeing him. But after seeing him again and again it
acquired confidence, and gradually came to eat grass from
the gardenerís hand. And when the gardener saw that its
confidence was gained, he strewed the path right up to the
palace as thick with branches as if he were covering it
with mats, hung a gourdful of honey over his shoulder,
carried a bundle of grass at his waist, and then kept
sprinkling honey-smeared grass in front of the antelope
till he led him within the palace.
As soon as the deer had got inside, they shut the door.
The antelope, seeing men, began to tremble and quake with
the fear of death, and ran hither and thither about the hall.
The King came down from his upper chamber, and, seeing the
trembling creature, said: "Such is the nature of an antelope,
that it will not go for a week afterwards to a place where it
has seen men, nor its life long to a place where it has been
frightened. Yet this one, with just such a disposition, and
accustomed only to the jungle, has now, bound by the lust of
taste, come to just such a place. Verily, there is nothing
worse in the world than this lust of taste!"
And when in other words he had shown the danger of greed, he
let the antelope go back to the forest.