THE NOBEL DEER
Once upon a time there lived a noble deer. He walked with his head high, and his long antlers showed grace. He walked with a gait that made all the animals bow to him. He was the king of the deer. He treated all his subjects and other animals very well. Even the king the Jungle -the lion respected him.
One day, a group of traders lost their way in the forest. Distressed, and afraid they wondered what to do. When they looked up they saw the deer standing by. It beckoned them to follow him. They had nothing to lose, and followed him. The deer led them to the outskirts of a city and bounded back into the forest. The leader of the traders was so impressed by the deer, that he felt the king ought to know about it.
The traders went to the king and told him about the wonderful deer and his noble deed. The king did not listen to the words praising the deer’s noble deeds. He just heard that they had found a wonderful deer. He decided to go and hunt the deer at once. When he went into the forest with his soldiers, they saw the deer peacefully grazing in the meadow. The king looked at the stately form of the deer and the long antlers and said, “None of you should shoot at him, that animal is mine. His antlers will grace the walls of my palace.” Saying this, he shot at the deer, which evaded the arrow in time. The deer gave the king a long chase.
As the king chased the deer he went deep into the forest. Soon he was far away from his retinue. The deer gave him the slip and was walking away, when it heard a huge splash. It understood that the king had fallen into the watering hole while looking for him. Without a thought, the deer went to the watering hole and saw the helpless king screaming for help. No one could hear him. The deer ran to him and lowered its strong antlers. The king held on to it while the deer pulled him out.
The king was thankful and fell at the deer’s feet totally ashamed of himself. The deer let the king sit on his back and took him back to his city. The king asked him to stay on at the palace as his friend, but the deer refused saying that the forest was his home.
It is said that the deer was a Bodhisattava – an incarnation of the Buddha. If we could learn to be noble like the deer, and help even our enemies when they are defenseless, we are sure to gain friends for life.