Mountain Buck And Village Doe – Jataka Tales

Buddha’s Tales for Young and Old
[Infatuation]
Once upon a time, in northern India, there
was a herd of village deer. They were used to be-
ing near villages; they were born there and grew
up there. They knew they had to be very careful
around people. This was especially true at harvest
time, when the crops were tall, and the farmers
trapped and killed any deer who came near.
At harvest time, the village deer stayed in
the forest all day long. They only came near the
village during the dark of the night. One of these
was a beautiful young doe. She had soft reddish-
brown fur, a fluffy white tail and big wide bright
eyes.
During this particular season, there was a
young mountain buck who had strayed into the
same low forest. One day, he saw the beautiful
young doe, and immediately became infatuated
with her. He didn’t know anything about her. But
he imagined himself to be deeply in love with her,
just because of her reddish-brown fur and her
fluffy white tail and her big wide bright eyes. He
even dreamed about her, although she did not
know he existed!
After a few days, the young mountain buck
decided to introduce himself. As he was walking
out into the clearing where she was grazing, he
was entranced by her appearance and could not
take his eyes off her. He began speaking: “Oh my
sweet beauty, as lovely as the stars and as bright
as the moon, I confess to you that I am deeply…”
Just then the young buck’s hoof got caught in a
root, he tripped and fell, and his face splashed in a
mud puddle! The pretty village doe was flattered,
so she smiled. But inside, she thought this moun-
tain buck was really rather silly!
Meanwhile, unknown to the deer, there was
a clan of tree fairies living in that part of the for-
est. They had been watching the mountain buck,
while he secretly watched the village doe. When
he walked out into the clearing, began his speech,
and fell in the mud puddle – the fairies laughed
and laughed. “What fools these dumb animals
are!” they cried. But one fairy did not laugh. He
said, I fear this is a warning of danger to this
young fool!”
The young buck was a little embarrassed,
but he did not see it as any kind of warning. From
then on, he followed the doe wherever she went.
He kept telling her how beautiful she was and how
much he loved her. She didn’t pay much attention.
Then night came, and it was time for the
doe to go down to the village. The people who
lived along the way knew the deer passed by at
night. So they set traps to catch them. That night a
hunter waited, hiding behind a bush.
Carefully, the village doe set out. The
mountain buck, who was still singing her praises,
went right along with her. She stopped and said to
him, “My dear buck, you are not experienced with
being around villages. You don’t know how dan-
gerous human beings are. The village, and the
way to it, can bring death to a deer even at night.
Since you are so young and inexperienced (and
she thought to herself, ‘and foolish’), you should
not come down to the village with me. You should
remain in the safety of the forest.”
At this, the tree fairies applauded. But of
course, the deer could not hear them.
The young buck paid no attention to the
doe’s warning. He just said, “Your eyes look so
lovely in the moonlight!” and kept walking with
her. She said, “If you won’t listen to me, at least
be quiet!” He was so infatuated with her, that he
could not control his mind. But he did finally shut
his mouth!
After a while, they approached the place
where the hunter was hiding behind a bush. The
fairies saw him, and became agitated and fright-
ened for the deer’s safety. They flew nervously
around the tree, branches, but they could only
watch.
The doe could smell the hiding man. She
was afraid of a trap. So, thinking to save her own
life, she let the buck go first. She followed a little
way behind.
When the hunter saw the unsuspecting
mountain buck, he shoot his arrow and killed him
instantly. Seeing this, the terrified doe turned tail
and ran back to the forest clearing as fast as she
could.
The hunter claimed his kill. He started a
fire, skinned the deer, cooked some of the venison
and ate his fill. Then he threw the carcass over his
shoulder and carried it back home to feed his
family.
When the fairies saw what happened, some
of them cried. As they watched the hunter cut up
the once noble looking buck, some of them felt
sick. Others blamed the careful doe for leading
him to the slaughter.
But the wise fairy, who had given the first
warning, said, “It was the excitement of infatua-
tion that killed this foolish deer. Such blind desire
brings false happiness at first, but ends in pain and
suffering.”
The moral is: Infatuation leads to destruction.