The Bull Called Delightful – Jataka Tales

Buddha’s Tales for Young and Old
[All Deserve Respect]
Once upon a time, in the country of Gand-
hara in northern India, there was a city called
Takkasila. In that city the Enlightenment Being
was born as a certain calf. Since he was well bred
for strength, he was bought by a high class rich
man. He became very fond of the gentle animal,
and called him ‘Delightful’. He took good care of
him and fed him only the best.
When Delightful grew up into a big fine
strong bull, he thought, “I was brought up by this
generous man. He gave me such good food and
constant care, even though sometimes there were
difficulties. Now I am a big grown up bull and
there is no other bull who can pull as heavy a load
as I can. Therefore, I would like to use my
strength to give something in return to my
master.”
So he said to the man, “Sir, please find
some wealthy merchant who is proud of having
many strong bulls. Challenge him by saying that
your bull can pull one hundred heavily loaded bul-
lock carts.”
Following his advice, the high class rich
man went to such a merchant and struck up a con-
versation. After a while, he brought up the idea of
who had the strongest bull in the city.
The merchant said, “Many have bulls, but
no one has any as strong as mine.” The rich man
said, “Sir, I have a bull who can pull one hundred
heavily loaded bullock carts.” “No, friend, how
can there be such a bull? That is unbelievable!”
said the merchant. The other replied, “I do have
such a bull, and I am willing to make a bet.”
The merchant said, “I will bet a thousand
gold coins that your bull cannot pull a hundred
loaded bullock carts.” So the bet was made and
they agreed on a date and time for the challenge.
The merchant attached together one hun-
dred big bullock carts. He filled them with sand
and gravel to make them very heavy.
The high class rich man fed the finest rice
to the bull called Delightful. He bathed him and
decorated him and hung a beautiful garland of
flowers around his neck.
Then he harnessed him to the first cart and
climbed up onto it. Being so high class, he could
not resist the urge to make himself seem very im-
portant. So he cracked a whip in the air, and
yelled at the faithful bull, “Pull, you dumb animal!
I command you to pull, you big dummy!”
The bull called Delightful thought, “This
challenge was my ideal. I have never done any-
thing bad to my master, and yet he insults me with
such hard and harsh words!” So he remained in
his place and refused to pull the carts.
The merchant laughed and demanded his
winnings from the bet. The high class rich man
had to pay him the one thousand gold coins. He
returned home and sat down, saddened by his lost
bet, and embarrassed by the blow to his pride.
The bull called Delightful grazed peace-
fully on his way home. When he arrived, he saw
his master sadly lying on his side. He asked, “Sir,
why are you lying there like that? Are you sleep-
ing? You look sad.” The man said, I lost a thou-
sand gold coins because of you. With such a loss,
how could I sleep?”
The bull replied. “Sir, you called me
‘dummy’. You even cracked a whip in the air over
my head. In all my life, did I ever break anything,
step on anything, make a mess in the wrong place,
or behave like a ‘dummy’ in any way?” He an-
swered, “No, my pet.”
The bull called Delightful said, “Then sir,
why did you call me ‘dumb animal’, and insult me
even in the presence of others? The fault is yours.
I have done nothing wrong. But since I feel sorry
for you, go again to the merchant and make the
same bet for two thousand gold coins. And re-
member to use only the respectful words I deserve
so well.”
Then the high class rich man went back to
the merchant and made the bet for two thousand
gold coins. The merchant thought it would be easy
money. Again he set up the one hundred heavily
loaded bullock carts. Again the rich man fed and
bathed the bull, and hung a garland of flowers
around his neck.
When all was ready, the rich man touched
Delightful’s forehead with a lotus blossom, having
given up the whip. Thinking of him as fondly as if
he were his own child, he said, “My son, please
do me the honour of pulling these one hundred
bullock carts.”
Lo and behold, the wonderful bull pulled
with all his might and dragged the heavy carts,
until the last one stood in the place of the first.
The merchant, with his mouth hanging
open in disbelief, had to pay the two thousand
gold coins. The onlookers were so impressed that
they honoured the bull called Delightful with
gifts. But even more important to the high class
rich man than his winnings, was his valuable les-
son in humility and respect.
The moral is: Harsh words bring no reward.
Respectful words bring honour to all.