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THE FAITHFUL FRIEND
LONG ago, when Brahma-datta was reigning in Benares, the
Bodisat became his Minister.
At that time a dog used to go to the state elephant's
stable, and feed on the lamps of rice which fell where the elephant fed. Being attracted there by the food, he soon became great friends with the elephant, and used to eat close by him. At last neither of them was happy without the other; and the dog used to amuse himself by catching hold of the elephant's trunk, and swinging to and fro.
But one day there came a peasant who gave the elephant-keeper
money for the dog, and took it back with him to his village.
From that time the elephant, missing the dog, would
neither eat nor drink nor bathe. And they let the King
know about it.
He sent the Bodisat, saying: "Do you go, Pandit, and find
out what's the cause of the elephant's behavior."
So he went to the stable, and seeing how sad the elephant
looked, said to himself: "There seems to be nothing bodily
the matter with him. He must be so overwhelmed with grief by
missing some one, I should think, who had become near and
dear to him." And he asked the elephant-keepers: "Is there
any one with whom he is particularly intimate?"
"Certainly, Sir! There was a dog of whom he was very fond
"Where is it now?"
"Some man or other took it away."
"Do you know where the man lives?"
Then the Bodisat went and told the King. "There's nothing
the matter with the elephant, your majesty; but he was
great friends with a dog, and I fancy it's through missing
it that he refuses his food."
When the King heard what he said, he asked what was now
to be done.
"Have a proclamation made, O King, to this effect: 'A man
is said to have taken away a dog of whom our state elephant
was fond. In whose house soever that dog shall be found, he
shall be fined so much!' "
The King did so; and, as soon as he heard of it, the man
turned the dog loose. The dog hastened back, and went close
up to the elephant. The elephant took him up in his trunk
and placed him on his forehead, and wept and cried, and took
him down again, and watched him as he fed. And then he took
his own food.
Then the King paid great honor to the Bodisat for knowing
the motives even of animals.