The Fawn Who Played Hooky – Jataka Tales

Buddha’s Tales for Young and Old
[Truancy]
Once upon a time, there was a herd of for-
est deer. In this herd was a wise and respected
teacher, cunning in the ways of deer. He taught
the tricks and strategies of survival to the young
fawns.
One day, his younger sister brought her son
to him, to be taught what is so important for deer.
She said, “Oh brother teacher, this is my son.
Please teach him the tricks and strategies of deer.”
The teacher said to the fawn, “Very well, you can
come at this time tomorrow for your first lesson.”
At first, the young deer came to the lessons
as he was supposed to. But soon, he became more
interested in playing with the other young bucks
and does. He didn’t realize how dangerous it
could be for a deer who learned nothing but deer
games. So he started cutting classes. Soon he was
playing hooky all the time.
Unfortunately, one day the fawn who
played hooky stepped in a snare and was trapped.
Since he was missing, his mother worried. She
went to her brother the teacher, and asked him,
“My dear brother, how is my son? Have you
taught your nephew the tricks and strategies of
deer?”
The teacher replied, “My dear sister, your
son was disobedient and unteachable. Out of re-
spect for you, I tried my best to teach him. But he
did not want to learn the tricks and strategies of
deer. He played hooky! How could I possibly
teach him? You are obedient and faithful, but he is
not. It is useless to try to teach him.”
Later they heard the sad news. The stub-
born fawn who played hooky had been trapped
and killed by a hunter. He skinned him and took
the meat home to his family.
The moral is: Nothing can be learned from a
teacher, by one who misses the class.