The Bull called Delightful

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The Bull called Delightful

A Rich Old Man has the Strongest Bull in the world. Does he respect the bull or treat him like a dumb animal? Doesn’t all creatures deserve respect?

Long long ago, in the country of Gandhara in Northern India, the Enlightened Being was born as a calf. A Rich Old Man bought the calf and being very fond of the gentle animal, named him ‘Delightful’. The Rich Old Man took good care of Delightful and fed him only the best. When Delightful grew up into a big fine strong bull, he thought, “I was brought up by this generous man. He gave me good food and constant care, even in times of difficulties. Now I am a big grown up bull I would like to use my strength to give something in return to my Master”.

So Delightful said to the Rich Old Man,“Sir, please find some wealthy merchant who is proud of having many strong bulls. Challenge him by saying that your bull can pull one hundred heavily loaded bullock carts.”

So the next day, the Rich Old Man struck up a conversation with a proud merchant. In a while, he brought up the topic of who had the strongest bull in the city. The merchant said, “Many have bulls, but no one has any as strong as mine.”

The Rich Old Man said, “Sir, I have a bull who can pull one hundred heavily loaded bullock carts.”

“No friend, how can there be such a bull? That is unbelievable!” said the merchant. The other replied, “I do have such a bull, and I am willing to make a bet.” The merchant said, “I will bet a thousand gold coins that your bull cannot pull a hundred loaded bullock carts.” So the bet was made and they agreed on a date and time for the challenge.

On the day of the challenge, the proud merchant attached together one hundred big bullock carts. He filled them with sand and gravel to make them very heavy. The Rich Old Man fed the finest rice to the bull called Delightful. He bathed him and decorated him and hung a beautiful garland of flowers around his neck. Then he harnessed Delightful to the first cart and climbed up onto it.

Amidst his sudden popularity, the Rich Old Man could not resist the urge to make himself seem very important. So he cracked a whip in the air, and yelled at the faithful bull, “Pull, you dumb animal! I command you to pull, you big dummy!”

The bull called Delightful thought, “This challenge was my ideal. I have never done anything bad to my master, and yet he insults me with such harsh words!” So Delightful remained in his place and refused to pull the carts. The proud merchant laughed and demanded his winnings from the bet. The Rich Old Man had to pay him the one thousand gold coins. He returned home and sat down, saddened by his loss.

Delightful grazed peacefully on his way home. When he arrived, he saw his Master sadly lying on his side. He asked, “Sir, why are you lying there like that? Are you fine? ” The man said, I lost a thousand gold coins because of you. With such a loss, how could I be fine?” The bull replied. “Sir, you called me ‘dummy’. You even cracked a whip in the air over my head. In all my life, did I ever break anything, step on anything, make a mess in the wrong place, or behave like a ‘dummy’ in any way?”

Rich Old Man answered, “No, my pet.” Delightful said, “Then Sir, why did you call me ‘dumb animal’, and insult me though I have done nothing wrong? But now I feel sorry for you, so please go again to the merchant and make the same bet for two thousand gold coins. And remember to use only the respectful words.”

So the Rich Old Man went back to the merchant and made the bet for two thousand gold coins. The proud merchant thought it would be easy money. Again he set up the one hundred heavily loaded bullock carts. Again the Rich Old Man fed and bathed the bull, and hung a garland of flowers around his neck.

When all was ready, the rich man touched Delightful’s forehead with a lotus blossom, having given up the whip. Thinking of him as fondly as if he were his own child, he said, “My son, please do me the honour of pulling these one hundred bullock carts.”

Lo and behold, the wonderful bull pulled with all his might and dragged the heavy carts, until the last one stood in the place of the first. The merchant, with his mouth hanging open in disbelief, had to pay the two thousand gold coins. The onlookers were so impressed that they honoured the bull called Delightful with gifts. But even more important to the Rich Old Man than his winnings, was his valuable lesson in humility and respect.


Respect wins over insult, anyday!

(This Jataka Tale has been edited to adapt to the taste of early readers)

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