GRANDMOTHERíS GOLDEN DISH
LONG ago the Bodisat was a dealer in tin and brass ware, named
Seriva, in the country of that name. This Seriva, together
with another dealer in tin and brass ware, who was an
avaricious man, crossed the river Televaha, and entered the
town called Andhapura. And, dividing the streets of the
city between them, the Bodisat went round selling his goods
in the street allotted to him, while the other took the street
that fell to him.
Now in that city there was a wealthy family reduced to abject
poverty. All the sons and brothers in the family had died,
and all its property had been lost. Only one girl and her
grandmother were left; and those two gained their living
by serving others for hire. There was indeed in the house
the vessel of gold out of which the head of the house used
to eat in the days of its prosperity; but it was covered
with dirt, and had long lain neglected and unused among
the pots and pans. And they did not even know that it was
At that time the avaricious hawker, as he was going along,
calling out, "Buy my water-pots! Buy my water-pots!" came
to the door of their house. When the girl saw him, she said
to her grandmother: "Mother! do buy me an ornament."
"But we are poor, dear. What shall we give in exchange for it?"
"This dish of ours is no use to us; you can give that
away and get one."
The old woman called the hawker, and, after asking him
to take a seat, gave him the dish, and said: "Will you
take this, Sir, and give something to your little sister
The hawker took the dish, and thought: "This must be
gold!" And turning it round, he scratched a line on
its back with a needle, and found that it was so. Then,
hoping to get the dish without giving them anything, he
said: "What is this worth? It is not even worth a
halfpenny!" And throwing it on the ground, he got up from
his seat and went away.
Now, it was allowed to either hawker to enter the street
which the other had left. And the Bodisat came into that
street, and calling out, "Buy my water-pots," came up to
the door of that very house. And the girl spoke to her
grandmother as before. But the grandmother said: "My child,
the dealer who came just now threw the dish on the floor,
and went away; what have I now got to give him in exchange?"
"That merchant, mother dear, was a surly man; but this
one looks pleasant, and has a kind voice: perchance he
may take it."
"Call him, then," said she.
So she called him. And when he had come in and sat down,
they gave him the dish. He saw that it was gold, and said:
"Mother! this dish is worth a hundred thousand. All the
goods in my possession are not equal to it in value!"
"But, Sir, a hawker who came just now threw it on the
ground, and went away, saying it was not worth a halfpenny.
It must have been changed into gold by the power of your
virtue, so we make you a present of it."
The Bodisat gave them all the cash he had in hand (five
hundred pieces), and all his stock-in-trade, worth five
hundred more. He asked of them only to let him keep eight
pennies, and the bag and the yoke that he used to carry
his things with. And these he took and departed.
And going quickly to the river-side, he gave those eight
pennies to a boatman, and got into the boat.
But the covetous hawker came back to the house, and said:
"Bring out that dish, Iíll give you something for it."
Then she scolded him, and said: "You said our gold dish,
worth a hundred thousand, was not worth a halfpenny. But a
just dealer, who seems to be your master, gave us a thousand
for it, and has taken it away."
When he heard this he called out: "Through this fellow I
have lost a golden pot worth—Oh, worth a hundred
thousand! He has ruined me altogether!" And bitter sorrow
overcame him, and he was unable to retain his presence of
mind, and he lost all self-command. And scattering the money
he had, and all the goods, at the door of the house, he seized
as a club the yoke by which he had carried them, and tore
off his clothes, and pursued after the Bodisat.
When he reached the river-side, he saw the Bodisat going
away, and he cried out: "Hallo, Boatman! stop the boat!"
But the Bodisat said: "Donít stop!" and so prevented that.
And as the other gazed and gazed at the departing Bodisat,
he was torn with violent grief; his heart grew hot, and
blood flowed from his mouth until his heart broke—like
tank-mud in the heat of the sun.
Thus harboring hatred against the Bodisat, he brought about
on that very spot his own destruction. This was the first
time that Devadatta harbored hatred against the Bodisat.
But the Bodisat gave gifts, and did other good acts, and
passed away according to his deeds.