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THE JUDAS TREE
ONCE upon a time Brahmadatta, the king of Benares, had
four sons. One day they sent for the charioteer, and said to him:
"We want to see a Judas tree; show us one!"
"Very well, I will," the charioteer replied. But he did
not show it to them all together. He took the eldest at
once to the forest in the chariot, and showed him the
tree at the time when the buds were just sprouting from
the stem. To the second he showed it when the leaves were
green, to the third at the time of blossoming, and to the
fourth when it was bearing fruit.
After this it happened that the four brothers were sitting
together, and some one asked, "What sort of a tree is the
Judas tree?" Then the first brother answered:
"Like a burnt stump!"
And the second cried, "Like a banyan tree!"
And the third—"Like a piece of meat!"
And the fourth said, "Like the acacia!"
They were vexed at each otherís answers, and ran to
find their father. "My Lord," they asked, "what sort
of a tree is the Judas tree?"
"What did you say to that?" he asked. They told him
the manner of their answers. Said the king:
"All four of you have seen the tree. Only when the
charioteer showed you the tree, you did not ask him,
'What is the tree like at such a time?' or 'at such another
time?' You made no distinctions, and that is the reason for
your mistake." And he repeated the first stanza:—
"All have seen the Judas tree—
What is your perplexity?
No one asked the charioteer
What its form the livelong year!"