Another great story from Jataka Tales. Once upon a time, there lived a skillful archer in a city. Though he was short in height and had a hunched back, none could beat him in archery. One day he thought, “ I am good enough to join the king’s army, but he would never take me in because of my short stature and hunched back. I must look for someone tall and powerful, and then I can enter the king’s army as his page.”
One day, the little bowman found the kind of man he was looking for. He was a tall and powerful man and used to dig ditches to earn his living. The bowman approached him and said, “The days of your misery are over! I am the best archer of this country and worthy of being a part of the king’s royal army. But, I may get rejected because of my height and crooked back. So, I need your help. You will immediately be recruited in the army because of your physique and you can then introduce me to them as your page. I will do the work that you will be given to do and we shall divide the pay between us. This way both of us will be able to live comfortably.”
The tall man gladly agreed. Together they reached the king’s palace and sent word to the king that a famous bowman was there to meet him. The king met the bowman and being impressed by his towering personality, inducted him in the royal army. The little man’s dream had come true. He was now a part of the royal army, though disguised as the page of the big man.
In those days, there was a man-eater tiger on the loose in the jungle. The king sent for the big man and ordered him to kill the tiger. The big man told the little bowman what the king had said. They went to the forest together and soon, the little bowman shot the tiger dead. The king was extremely impressed by the heroic act of the big man and rewarded him with expensive gifts.
Some days, later, a mad buffalo let itself loose on the city roads and started killing the people with its horns. The big man was asked to go and kill the buffalo. The big man carried the little bowman on his shoulders and as always, the little bowman hit his target and killed the buffalo. The king was full of praise for the big man and gave him a big bag of money as a gift.
The big man slowly started to think that he deserved all the credit and the little bowman had no right to share the prize money or any praise. He started treating the little man as his servant and spoke him very rudely. The little bowman was very sad.
A few days later, the king of the neighbouring country attacked the kingdom. The king at once sent his army. The big man was mounted on a majestic elephant and was wearing shining armour. The little bowman knew that the big man could not shoot, so he also took his bow and arrow and quietly sat behind the big man on the elephant.
When the big man saw a huge enemy army in front of him, he started to shake with fear. The little bowman asked him to keep sitting quietly, but the big man was so nervous that he jumped off the elephant and ran back to the city from the battle field.
The little bowman led the elephant fearlessly into the battle field and killed many of the enemies with his unmistakable shots. All the soldiers were motivated by the little man’s act of bravery and they soon forced the enemy army to withdraw itself. The king now understood that it was the little bowman who was the real hero. He made him the chief of his army and also rewarded him with rich gifts.
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