Once the Bodhisattva was born as a golden deer
in a forest of Varanasi. His eyes were like
round gems; horns like silver; and he was bigger
in size than other deer. He headed a band of
five hundred deer and was called Nigrodharaja.
In the same forest there lived another golden
deer Sakha, who, too, headed a band of five
As the king of Varanasi was very fond of the
deer meet, he asked his men to bring him at
least one deer every day. His men, one day,
decided to catch all the deer of the forest and
bring them to the royal garden to please the
king. So, they besieged the forest from all
directions by keeping the garden-path clear and
approached the centre with noise and
drum-beating. No wonder all the deer were forced
to enter the royal park and were caged inside.
When the king saw the two golden deer, too, in
his park he was very pleased. Further, charmed
by their elegance he granted them immunity from
being killed. But no other deer enjoyed the
similar privilege. So, whenever a royal hunter
entered the park to kill a deer all the deer
would run helter-skelter, which caused more
damages to the herd. So, the two deer kings
convened a meeting and resolved that one deer
from each group had to go to the hunter for the
slaughter on every alternate day. The agreement
was, however, to be followed rigorously.
The king shooting the deer, the Thai version
One day a pregnant doe belonging to Sakha’s herd
had her turn for the slaughter. As she was
pregnant, she prayed her leader to postpone her
turn until the young one was born. Sakha was
inconsiderate and did not pay any attention to
her request. Wailing, she went to Nigrodha, who
complied with her request out of sheer
Next day, Nigrodha himself went to the execution
block and showed his readiness for the
slaughter. Surprised at the presence of the
golden deer eagerly awaiting its slaughter
despite the immunity granted, the king’s men
reported the matter to the king.
The king was also surprised. He immediately
arrived at the park and asked the deer king to
explain the cause for his willingness to be
killed. Nigrodha then said, “Sir! A pregnant doe
came to me and prayed to let her turn fall on
the other. So, to save the life of two deer, I
decide to get killed.”
The king granting amnesty to the two deer, the
The king was moved by his compassion. He said,
“O deer king! I am impressed with your loving
kindness. I spare the life of the doe and
Nigrodha said, I thank you for that. But what
shall happen to other deer, here?”
“I spare their lives too, said the king.
“The deer in your park shall thus gain immunity;
but then what will happen to the deer living in
your kingdom, queried the deer king.
“I will spare their lives too”, said the king.
“Sir! The deer will be safe in your territory;
but then what will happen to other four-footed
animals”, Nigrodharaja asked.
“From now onwards, I spare their lives, too”,
promised the king.
“Sir, four-footed animals will thus be saved;
but then what would happen to the birds”, asked
the deer king in his naļve dignity.
The king said, “I spare their lives too”,
answered the king.
“Sir! Birds will thus be safe, but then what
will happen to the fishes”, questioned the deer.
“I save their lives too, O deer king”, the king
Thus the good deer by his compassion saved the
lives of all the animals of the kingdom.