The Golden Deer
. Maxwell Macmillan International , Scribner's, Macmillan Publishing Company . NY ,
BQ1462.E5 H63 1992 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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The publisher's summary says well: Buddha comes to the city of Benares in the form of a golden deer and persuades the king to stop killing all the deer in the area. After the overworked people drive two herds of deer into the king's own park so that he will stop distracting them and hurting their fields with his hunts, the king spares the two golden stags that lead the respective herds. Many deer are wounded before the king or his cook makes the routine kill of one per day. The Banyan Deer calls the herds together and proposes that one deer chosen by lot die each day. When the lot falls one day to a pregnant young doe, the Banyan Deer offers to take her place. When the king still refuses to kill this stag, the latter speaks up. Soon, in Abrahamic fashion, he asks step by step if the king will not spare all the deer within the walls, and deer outside the walls, and other four-footed creatures, and birds, and fish. The king even protects the deer later when people complain that they are eating their crops. The Banyan Deer, upon hearing this, instructs the herds to refrain from eating crops. Henceforth, deer never trespassed on a marked field. In the further lifetimes of the Buddha, he kept becoming more kind and wise. When he finally came as a human, he preached his first sermon in the deer park near Benares. The story is #12 in E.B. Cowell's The Jataka, Stories of the Buddha's Former Births (London: Luzac and Company, 1895). Pleasing (acrylic?) illustrations, strong on browns and blues.