Deer Stories (555)
By: Anant Pai
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The 'Jataka' (Birth-cycle) tales narrate the stories related to the 'seekers of truth' - those who wish to follow the path of Buddha. The 550 Jatakas that form the canon, many are about both animals and humans. The stories were originally were compiled in the Pali language.
In some stories here, deers trapped by hunters are freed either by friends, or by clever pretence. In some, the deer helps a man in difficulty and excuses him even if he turns ungrateful or does harm. A deer asks the king to announce that no animal or bird be harmed. Another deer snared by the taste of honeyed grass is led to the king but set free for having given an object lesson in good conduct. A golden deer takes the place of a mother-to-be, to be served to the king. The king impressed by the sacrifice, grants, freedom from harm for all creatures.
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