Roaring Bulls With No Fight

King Brahmadatta knelt down before the holy man and then sat next to him. He asked, “Your reverence, can you tell me the meanings of my 16 dreams?”

“Of course I can,” said the forest monk. “Tell them to me, beginning with the first eight.”

The king replied, ‘These were the first eight dreams:

roaring bulls with no fight, midget trees bearing fruit, cows sucking milk from calves, calves pulling carts with bulls trailing behind, a horse eating with two mouths, a jackal urinating in a golden bowl, a she-jackal eating a rope maker’s rope, one overflowing pot with all the rest empty.”

‘Tell me more about your first dream,” said the monk.

“Your reverence, I saw four pure black bulls who came from the four directions to fight in the palace courtyard. People came from miles around to see the bulls fight. But they only pretended to fight, roared at each other, and went back where they came from.”

“Oh king,” said the holy man, “this dream tells of things that will not happen in your lifetime or in mine. In the far-off future, kings will be unwholesome and stingy. The people too will be unwholesome. Goodness will be decreasing while evil increases. The seasons will be out of whack, with sunstroke on winter days and snow storms on summer days. The skies will be dry, with poor clouds and little water. Harvests will be small and people will starve. Then dark clouds will come from the four directions, but even after much thunder and lightning, they will depart without letting rain fall – just like the roaring bulls who leave without fighting.

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“But have no fear, there will be no harm to the people of today. The priests say this dream requires sacrifice, only because that is how they earn their money. Now tell me your second dream.”

“Your reverence. I had a dream where tiny midget plants grew no more than one foot tall, and then flowered and gave fruit.”

“Oh king,” said the holy man, the soil will be poor for growing crops, and humans will live short lives. The young will have strong desires, and even young girls will have babies – just like midget trees bearing fruit.

“But this will not happen until the distant future when the world is declining. What was your third dream, oh king?”

“Your reverence. I saw cows sucking milk from their own calves. born the same day,” said the king, shuddering with fear.

“Be calm,” said the monk, “this too will not happen in our lifetimes. But someday people will no longer respect their mothers, fathers, mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law. People will give everything to their own children, taking over the savings of their elder parents and in-laws. Then, by whim alone, they may or may not feed and clothe their elders. So the elderly will be at the mercy of their own children – just like cows sucking milk from their day-old calves.

“But clearly it is not like that today, oh king, so you have nothing to fear. Now tell me your fourth dream.”

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Somewhat relieved, the king continued, “Your reverence, I dreamed I saw big strong full-grown bulls following behind bullock carts. They were being pulled by frail awkward calves. The calves stopped and stood still, unable to pull the heavily loaded carts. Caravans could no longer travel and goods could not be taken to market.”

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“There will be a time,” said the holy man, “when unwholesome stingy kings will no longer respect wise experienced judges. Instead they will appoint young foolish judges, granting them the highest privileges. But they will not be able to make difficult decisions. They will become judges in name only, doing no real work – just like the calves who can’t pull the carts. Meanwhile, the older wiser ones will offer no help, thinking it is no longer their concern – just like the bulls trailing behind.

“Again you have nothing to fear, oh king, from those far-off times when all the nations will be poorly run by the young and foolish. What was your fifth dream?”

“Your reverence, my fifth dream was very strange indeed. I saw a horse eating with two mouths, one on each side of his head!” Again the king trembled as he spoke.

The forest monk said, “This will happen in another far-off future time, when unwholesome foolish kings appoint unwholesome greedy judges. Not caring in the least about right and wrong, they will take bribes from both sides in the same case – just like a horse eating greedily with two mouths.

“Now tell me your sixth dream.”

“Your reverence, I dreamed I saw a golden plate worth a hundred thousand pieces of money. People were holding it and coaxing an old skinny jackal to urinate in it. And that’s just what he did!” said the king, making a face.

“Oh king, this too will come to pass in a far-off time when the kings will be outsiders, not born in the ruling families of the countries they rule. So they will not trust the experienced ministers from the native noble class. They will replace them with low class ministers they can control more easily. Meanwhile the old nobles will depend on the new ruling class. So they will offer their high class daughters in marriage to the low class ministers – just like golden bowls urinated in by jackals.

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“But this will not happen in your time, oh king. What was your seventh dream?”

“Your reverence, I dreamed I saw a man making a rope and letting it pile up under his chair. There a hungry female jackal was eating the rope as it fell, without the man knowing it.”

“There will come a time,” said the monk, “when women’s cravings will increase. They will desire men, strong liquor, jewelry and all sorts of useless possessions. They will spend a lot of time window shopping. Paying more attention to their lovers than to their husbands. they will ignore even the most important household activities. And they will waste all the money earned by their husbands – just like the jackal devouring the rope that is produced by the rope maker.

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“But as you can see, oh king, these times are not upon us. Tell me about your eighth dream.”

“Your reverence,” said the king, “I saw one big pot full of water, and many small empty pots, in front of the palace gate. All the warriors, priests, merchants and farmers were bringing water from all directions. But they were pouring it only into the big pot. That one was overflowing and wasting the water, while all the little pots remained empty!” Again the king shook in fear as he spoke.

“Have no fear, oh king,” said the holy man. “Way off in the future the world will be declining. The land will be less fertile, so crops will be harder to grow. The richest will have no more than 100,000 pieces of money – there will be no more millionaires! Even the kings will be poor and stingy.

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“The kings and the wealthy will make all the rest work for them only. The poor will be forced to bring all their products, grains, vegetables and fruits to the warehouses of the rich and powerful. And the barns of the hard working poor will remain empty – it will be like the big pot filled to overflowing, with all the little ones empty.

“So now you know the meanings of your first eight dreams. They have foretold:

thunderclouds with no rain, young girls having babies, the elderly at the mercy of their children, young foolish judges with no help from the wise, greedy judges taking bribes from both sides, low class ministers with high class wives, wives wasting the earnings of their husbands, the rich taking from the poor leaving them nothing.

“So your mind may be at peace, oh king, regarding these first eight dreams. Clearly such times are not upon us, and these dangers are not to be feared in the present day.”

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