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Story of The Little Bowman
The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C.B. Varma
|065 - The Little Bowman|
Bhimasena Jataka, Ajanta
Once there lived a dwarf who had mastered the Vedas and eighteen other branches of Studies under the guidance of the greatest teacher of the time in Taxila. As he was also a great archer he was called "The Little Bowman".
the weaver replied.
no more, O friend! I shall soon make you very rich. No country has an
archer like me. Yet, no king employs me because I am a dwarf. But you have
a look that attracts every king to employ you. So I take you to the king
where you would pretend that you are a great archer. I would discharge the
duty of the archer by hiding behind you. The king will surely employ you
and pay you handsome salary. Thus, we shall both prosper."
weaver agreed and they both went to the king. Bhimasena was employed as a
royal archer and the little man became his page.
day, the local people came to the king and complained the menace of a
local man-eater tiger. The king called Bhimasena and entrusted him with
the responsibility to kill the tiger. As Bhimasena had no experience of
hunting he was very disturbed by the royal command. Little Bowman then
"Go to the place where the tiger lives but don't approach the tiger alone. You rather muster up the local folks with bows and arrows and proceed to the spot. After reaching there you stay behind some thicket and let the people advance and kill the tiger. When the tiger be killed you then make a sudden appearance and nag them for having killed the tiger, which you wanted to catch alive to follow the royal order. You then ask the people to bring the culprit, who had defied the royal order. The people would then keep their lips tight and no one would come forward to tell who had killed the tiger. Thus, the king would presume that you are the one, who had killed the tiger."
behind the dwarf
Little Bowman kept on helping Bhimasena. But the latter in course of time
became ungrateful, haughty and insulting to Little Bowman. This made the
dwarf think of teaching a lesson to the spurious archer at an appropriate
few months later, when a hostile neighbouring king launched a vigorous
campaign and attacked, the patron king ordered the Bhimasena to go and
shoot the enemy troops. Obeying the command of the king, he marched to the
battle-field on an elephant's back. And behind him sat the little page.
But when he looked at the advancing enemy troops he was terrified and fell
down on the heaps of the elephant's dung.
Bowman, who was sitting behind him, then availed the opportunity of taking
the command. He first shouted at Bhimasena, "O Bhimasena! You boast
too much. You swear that you can kill the enemy king but when the time
comes you can't even stay on the elephant's back. Now, you go and wash
yourself clean. I will save you and this kingdom."
He raised the battle cry and dashed into the fight. Soon, he broke the enemy camp and captured the enemy king alive and brought him before his king. This made the king very pleased. He honoured him and appointed him as the chief of the royal army in recognition of his gallantry. Little Bowman then sent back the weaver to his native place and offered him some allowances.
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