Two Stupid Children – Jataka Tales

Buddha’s Tales for Young and Old
Once upon a time, there was an old carpen-
ter with a shiny bald head. On sunny days, his
head shined so brightly that people shaded their
eyes when talking to him!
On just such a sunny day, a hungry
mosquito was attracted to the old carpenter’s
bright bald head. He landed on it and started
biting into it.
The carpenter was busy smoothing a piece
of wood with a plane. When he felt the mosquito
biting him, he tried to chase him away. But the
hungry mosquito would not leave such a good
looking meal. So the man called over his son and
asked him to get rid of the stubborn pest.
Unlike his father’s shiny head, the son was
not so bright. But he was hard working and obedi-
ent. He said, ‘Don’t worry Dad, be patient. I’ll kill
that bug with just one blow!”
Then he picked up a very sharp axe, and
took careful aim at the mosquito. Without think-
ing, he came down with the axe and split the mos-
quito in two! Unfortunately, after slicing through
the mosquito, the axe also split the old carpenter’s
shiny bald head in two.
Meanwhile, an adviser to the king hap-
pened to be passing by with his followers. They
saw what had just happened, and were quite
shocked that anyone could be so stupid!
The king’s adviser said, “Don’t be so sur-
prised by human stupidity! This reminds me of a
similar event that occurred just yesterday.
“In a village not far from here, a woman
was cleaning rice. She was pounding it in a mortar
with a pestle, to separate the husks. As she worked
up a sweat, a swarm of flies began buzzing around
her head. She tried to chase them away, but, the
thirsty flies would not leave.
“Then she called over her daughter and
asked her to shoo away the bothersome bugs. Al-
though she was a rather foolish girl, the daughter
always tried her best to please her mother.
“So she stood up from her own mortar,
raised her pestle, and took careful aim at the big-
gest and boldest of the flies. Without thinking, she
pounded the fly to death! But of course, the same
blow that killed the fly, also ended her mother’s
“You all know what they say,” said the ad-
viser, finishing his story, “‘With friends, like
these, who needs enemies!’”
The moral is: A wise enemy is less dangerous
than a foolish friend.