Buddhist Studies jataka tales: vol. 1
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Volume I  - Prince Goodspeaker

Big Red, Little Red and No-squeal [Envy]

Once upon a time, there were two calves who were part of a country household. At the same home there also lived a girl and a baby pig. Since he hardly ever made a sound, the pig was called 'No-squeal'.

The masters of the house treated No-squeal very well. They fed him large amounts of the very best rice, and even rice porridge with rich brown sugar.

The two calves noticed this. They worked hard pulling ploughs in the fields and bullock carts on the roads. Little Red said to Big Red, "My big brother, in this household you and I do all the hard work. We bring prosperity to the family. But they feed us only grass and hay. The baby pig No-squeal does nothing to support the family. And yet they feed him the finest and fanciest of foods. Why should he get such special treatment?"

The wise elder brother said, "Oh young one, it is dangerous to envy anybody. Therefore, do not envy the baby pig for being fed such rich food. What he eats is really "the food of death".

"There will soon be a marriage ceremony for the daughter of the house, and little No-squeal will be the wedding feast! That's why he is being pampered and fed in such rich fashion.

"In a few days the guests will arrive. Then this piglet will be dragged away by the legs, killed, and made into curry for the feast."

Sure enough, in a few days the wedding guests arrived. The baby pig No-squeal was dragged away and killed. And just as Big Red had said, he was cooked in various types of curries and devoured by the guests.

Then Big Red said, "My dear young brother, did you see what happened to baby No-squeal?" "Yes brother," replied Little Red, "now I understand."

Big Red continued, "This is the result of being fed such rich food. Our poor grass and hay are a hundred times better than his rich porridge and sweet brown sugar. For our food brings no harm to us, but instead promises long life!"

The moral is: Don't envy the well-off, until you know the price they pay.

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