Story of the wind-deer and the honey-grass

February 20, 2007

Once upon a time, the King had a gardener who looked after his garden.  Animals from the nearby forest sometimes came into the garden.  The gardener complained about this to the king who said, “If you see any strange animals, tell me at once.”

One day, he saw a wind-deer.  Wind deers run like the wind but they are extremely timid and are very easily frightened by humans.

The gardener told the king about the wind-deer.  The king asked if the gardender could catch the rare animal.  He replied, “My lord, if you give me some honey, I could even bring him into the palace!”  So the king gave him as much honey as he wanted.

This particular wind-deer loved to eat the flowers & fruits in the king’s garden.  So the gardener smeared honey on the grass where the wind-deer usually came to eat.  Sure enough, the wind-deer began eating the honey-smeared grass.  Soon, it developed a craving for the taste of this ‘honey-grass’ that it would come to the garden to eat nothing else but the honey-grass!

Little by little, the gardener came closer to the wind-deer.  At first, it would run away.  But eventually, it lost its fear & came to think of the gardener as harmless.  He soon had the wind-deer eating the honey-grass out of his hands.

Meanwhile, the gardener had rows of curtains set up, making a wide pathway from the far end of the garden to the palace.  From inside this pathway, the curtains would keep the wind-deer from seeing any humans.

When all was prepared, the gardener took a bag of grass & a container of honey with him.  He began hand-feeding the wind-deer.  Gradually, he led the wind-deer into the curtained-off pathway.  The wind-deer followed him right into the palace.  Once inside, the palace guards closed the doors & the wind-deer was trapped.  When it saw the people of the court, it became very frightened & began running around, madly trying to escape.

When the king saw the panic-stricken wind-deer, he said, “What a wind-deer!  How could he have gotten into such a state?  My friends, how dangerous is the simple craving for a sweet flavour, or any other taste sensation.  See how this beautiful shy animal was trapped by my gardener who took advantage of its craving for taste.”

Not wishing to harm the gentle wind-deer, the king released it into the forest.  It never returned to the garden & it never missed the taste of the honey-grass.

The moral is: “It is better to eat to live, than to live to eat.”

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