Once, the Buddha was born as a bull. When he was still a tiny calf, he was given by his owners to a Brahmin as an offering. The Brahmin treated it like his own child, feeding the young creature on rice-gruel and rice.
When the young bull grew up, he thought thus to himself, “I have been brought up by this Brahmin who suffers great hardship. All of the bulls in India cannot draw what I can. What if I were to repay the Brahmin by making proof of my strength?”
Accordingly, one day he said to the Brahmin: “Go, Brahmin, to some rich merchant in town, and wager him a thousand gold pieces that your bull can draw a hundred loaded carts.”
The Brahmin went to a merchant and got into a discussion with him on the comparative value of oxen. The Brahmin claimed, “There are no oxen in town which can compare with mine for real strength. I have a bull which can pull a hundred loaded carts.” “Where is such a bull to be found?” laughed the merchant. “I’ve got him at home,” said the Brahmin. “Let’s make it a wager,” the merchant proposed. Certainly,” said the Brahmin, and he staked a thousand pieces.
Then they loaded one hundred carts with sand, gravel, and stones, and leashed the hundred carts together, one behind the other. Then, the Brahmin bathed his bull, gave him a measure of perfumed rice to eat, hung a garland round his neck, and harnessed him to the leading cart. The Brahmin took his seat, and with a most triumphant air shouted, “Now then, you rascal! Pull them along, you rascal!”
“I’m not the rascal he calls me,” thought the bull. So he planted his four feet and did not budge even an inch.
After the Brahmin paid the money to the merchant, he went home and he lied down dejectedly on his bed. The bull walked in and inquired if the Brahmin was taking a nap. “How could I take a nap, when I have just lost a thousand pieces?”
“Brahmin, all the time I have lived in your house, have I ever broken a pot, or made a mess?”
“Never, my child!”
“Then, why did you call me a rascal? It’s you who are to blame. Go and bet him two thousand this time. Only remember not to miscall me rascal again.”
The Brahmin went to the merchant, and laid a wager of two thousand. Just as before, they leashed the hundred carts to one another and harnessed the bull to the lead cart.
So now seated on the lead cart, the Brahmin stroked the bull on the back, and called on him, “Now then, my fine fellow! Pull them along, my fine fellow!”
With a single pull the bull tugged along the whole string of the one hundred carts. The merchant paid up the two thousand pieces to the Brahmin. Other people too gave large sums to the bull, and all the money went to the Brahmin. Thus did he gain greatly, thanks to the bull.
The moral of the story is:
Speak only words of kindness, never harsh words.
Being courteous and fair towards all
Can help move heavy loads,
And bring you wealth as your reward.