THE BULL THAT PROVED HIS GRATITUDE
LONG ago ... the Bodisat returned to life as a Bull.
Now, when it was still a young calf, its owners
stopped a while in an old woman's house, and gave
him to her when they settled their account for their
lodging. And she brought him up, treating him like a
son, and feeding him on gruel and rice.
He soon became known as "The old woman's Blackie."
When he grew up, he roamed about, as black as collyrium,
with the village cattle, and was very good-tempered and
quiet. The village children used to catch hold of his
horns, or ears, or dewlaps, and hang on to him; or amuse
themselves by pulling his tail, or riding about on his back.
One day he said to himself: "My mother is wretchedly
poor. She's taken so much pains, too, in bringing me up,
and has treated me like a son. What if I were to work for
hire, and so relieve her distress!" And from that day he
was always on the look-out for a job.
Now, one day a young caravan owner arrived at a neighboring
ford with five hundred bullock-wagons. And his bullocks were
not only unable to drag the carts across, but even when he
yoked the five hundred pair in a row they could not move
one cart by itself.
The Bodisat was grazing with the village cattle close to the
ford. The young caravan owner was a famous judge of cattle,
and began looking about to see whether there were among them
any thoroughbred bull able to drag over the carts. Seeing the
Bodisat, he thought he would do, and asked the herdsmen: "Who
may be the owners, my men, of this fellow? I should like to
yoke him to the cart, and am willing to give a reward for
having the carts dragged over."
"Catch him and yoke him then," said they. "He has no owner
But when be began to put a string through his nose and drag
him along, he could not get him to come. For the Bodisat, it
is said, wouldn't go till he was promised a reward.
The young caravan owner, seeing what his object was, said to
him: "Sir! if you'll drag over these five hundred carts for
me, I'll pay you wages at the rate of two pence for each
cart—a thousand pieces in all."
Then the Bodisat went along of his own accord, and the men
yoked him to the cart. And with a mighty effort he dragged
it up and landed it safe on the high ground. And in the same
manner he dragged up all the carts.
So the caravan owner then put five hundred pennies in a
bundle, one for each cart, and tied it round his neck. The
Bull said to himself: "This fellow is not giving me wages
according to the rate agreed upon. I shan't let him go on
now!" And so he went and stood in the way of the front cart,
and they tried in vain to get him away.
The caravan owner thought: "He knows, I suppose, that the
pay is too little;" and wrapping a thousand pieces in a cloth,
tied them up in a bundle, and hung that round his neck. And
as soon as be got the bundle with a thousand inside, he went
off to his "mother."
Then the village children called out: "See! what's that round
the neck of the old woman's Blackie?" and began to run up to
him. But he chased after them, so that they took to their heels
before they got near him; and he went straight to his "mother."
And he appeared with eyes all bloodshot, utterly exhausted
from dragging over so many carts.
"How did you get this, dear?" said the good old woman, when
she saw the bag round his neck. And when she heard, on inquiry
from the herdsmen, what had happened, she exclaimed: "Am I so
anxious, then, to live on the fruit of your toil, my darling!
Why do you put yourself to all this pain?"
And she bathed him in warm water, and rubbed him all over with
oil, and gave him to drink, and fed him up with good food. And
at the end of her life she passed away according to her deeds,
and the Bodisat with her.
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