Once upon a time there lived a deer in a dense forest called Ruru. He had a golden body glittering with the spots of varied hues like that of the rubies, sapphires and emeralds. His hair was extremely soft and silky, eyes were sky-blue, hooves and horns looked like the chiselled precious stones. So, when he darted in the forest every one was charmed, he was endowed with wisdom; and evinced the power to converse in the human language owing to the memory of his past existences. Further, knowing the cruel and horrible mentality of the human beings, which is prone to all kinds of evil deeds, he avoided any meet with them and was compassionate to all alike.
Once, rambling in a thick forest he heard a painful cry so, he looked at the direction and saw a man being carried away by a gushing stream. The sight of the man in his complete pain filled his heart with compassion. In order to rescue the man he jumped into the water and asked the man to cling fast to him but instead of clinging to him man climbed on his delicate back in his panic. Even so, the deer bore the heavy load of the man and brought him safely on the river-bank. Rura then comforted the shivering man with his warm caresses until he regained consciousness. When the man was back to his senses Ruru dismissed him by saying, you may go back to your own fellow beings!
The man thanked him and expressed his gratefulness by saying,
No friend from childhood; or a kinsman has ever done
What thou hast done to me.
This life of mine is now thine
Gratefully, I shall always be at your service,
Command me to do something for thee.
Then said Rura,
If this be so
Then tell this to none
That thou art saved by one
Who surpasses beauty
And is the most desirable prey for any man -
As the hearts of men have little mercy and no control.
The man promised to keep his pledge; and protect the life of his sponsor before he departed.
One day, the queen of that country had a dream where a golden deer appeared standing on a throne and preaching dhamma in an articulate human voice. So, she had requested the king to catch the deer for her and the king, who trusted in the veracity of her dreams acted according to her wish by the royal proclamation of the reward of a rich village and ten lovely women for one who would help find out the deer. The man, who was once rescued by the deer, when heard of the rich rewards, went to the king and said the secret abode of Ruru.The king and his men to the grove, where the deer dwelt but surprisingly, when he raised his hand to show the deer his hand fell off like a chopped limb.
At that time, the king had seen the deer and his eyes were wide-open at the wonderful sight of the deer. Ruru noticed the king’s arrow pointing at him; and the people surrounding him from all directions and there was no place to escape, he spoke to the king in an articulate human voice, Sir! Please first satisfy my curiosity before you kill me, can you tell me, how do you reach here because I never step the path of a man. The king, charmed by his cheerfulness pointed the man by turning the arrow towards him in reply.
Ruru then recited,
Better is to lift a log of wood out of water
Than to save an ungrateful one!
This word of the deer aroused the curiosity of the king, who in turn asked the deer to explain the context. The deer then narrated the story of the man, who he had rescued and the king was moved by the story and commended his compassion and bravery; but at the same time was terribly furious at the ungrateful man. So, to punish the man when he pulled the string of the bow to shoot him, Ruru requested king to forgive the man. Then the king forgave the man but invited the deer to visit his kingdom as a royal guest. Ruru accepted the invitation; and reached the palace, the king’s court, he perched the throne and delivered several discourses to the king, queen, princes and the courtiers for some days. He then returned to his habitat for good.