Aesop's Fables  >  Books of Fables >...> Dharma Jataka Tale Series  >  English Jatakas

English Jatakas

Below are my own comments. Browsers may want to consult pages reproduced from Dharma's own brochure on the series.

1976 The Proud Peacock and the Mallard: Tales of the Buddha. Inspired by Nazli Gellek. Adapted by Grania Davis. Illustrated by Anne Christman. Large pamphlet. Printed in USA. Emeryville, CA: Tales of the Buddha: Dharma Publishing. $5.95 from Moe's?, Berkeley, Dec., '99. Dh1. 

The King, a Golden Mallard, had a lovely daughter, and she asked to choose her own husband. She chose the beautiful peacock, but the latter showed off in such a proud dance that she took offense and declared "You may have beautiful feathers, but your proud dancing has lost you a wife." She went on to choose a handsome mallard who was wise enough not to show off his feathers. The peacock was so ashamed that his voice turned hoarse. The Golden Mallard turns out to have been the Buddha. Has Dharma discontinued this book?

1976 The Spade Sage. Inspired by Nazli Gellek. Adapted by Annette Beven. Illustrated by Diane Andrews Hall. Paperbound. Printed in USA. Emeryville, CA: Tales of the Buddha: Dharma Publishing. $4.95 from BookBuyers, Mountain View, CA, July, '03. Dh2.

In this story the Buddha has been born as a gardener called the Spade Sage. He has only his one spade, and he sells vegetables for a living. Unhappy, he goes into the forest to become a hermit. Once there, he thinks only about his dear old garden. He returns, but is still not happy. The rhythm goes on as he leaves his garden and returns to it seven times. Finally, to make a clean break, he throws his spade into the river. This is the freeing gesture, and he can rejoice, because he has overcome his desire. "I have conquered," he shouts. A great king who has just conquered in battle comes riding by on an elephant and hears this statement. Asked by the foreign king, the gardener explains that he exults to have conquered his desire. He rises into the air and calls people to follow him and learn, especially how to conquer their desires. The Buddha then explains that he was the sage. Though the cover gives an apparent series name "Tales of the Buddha," the last page speaks--more consistently with other volumes from Dharma Publishing--of "The Jataka Tales." See also the French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish versions.

1976 Three Wise Birds: Tales of the Buddha. Inspired by Nazli Gellek. Adapted by Suzanne Stamler. Illustrated by Gary William Nolan. Hardbound. Printed in USA. Emeryville, CA: Dharma Publishing. $4.95 from Cummings Books, Dinkytown, Minneapolis, June, '03. Dh3.

This book comes from the same series as The Proud Peacock and the Mallard, which was also done by Dharma in 1976 with an Emeryville address. Since then Dharma has had addresses first in Oakland and then in Berkeley. A childless king adopts three birds: an owl, a mynah, and a parrot. When he dies, the king turns his kingdom over to the wise parrot Jambuka, but Jambuka (who turns out to have been the Buddha) refuses rule and leaves the kingdom to the administration of the king's ministers, since he knows that they can rule well without him. These illustrations are less striking than many of Dharma's, I believe. I notice that I now have eleven of Dharma's Jataka Tale books. Has Dharma discontinued this book?

1976/93 Golden Foot: A Jataka Tale. Inspired by Nazli Gellek. Adapted by Karen Stone. Illustrated by Rosalyn White. Paperbound. Berkeley, CA: Jataka Tales Series: Dharma Press. $6.37 from the publisher, Dec., '04. Dh4. 

This is one of many booklets in the Jataka Tales Series that I purchased directly from the publisher. The book follows the style of Dharma's earliest Jataka publications. The noble Golden Foot lives with his gentle doe wife as king over many deer living at peace in a great pine forest. When he is caught in a hunter's snare, his wife pleads for him with the hunter, offering herself in his stead. The hunter is so touched with her plea that he lets Golden Foot free. As a reward, Golden Foot gives the hunter three magical jewels and urges him never to take life but rather to help those in need.

1976/93 The Hunter and the Quail: A Jataka Tale. Inspired by Nazli Gellek. Adapted by Trudy Crofts and Ken McKeon. Illustrated by Rachel Garbett. Paperbound. Berkeley, CA: Jataka Tales Series: Dharma Press. $4.76 from the publisher, Dec., '04. Dh19.

This is one of many booklets in the Jataka Tales Series that I purchased directly from the publisher. The book follows the simple style of Dharma's earliest Jataka publications. "The Sage" is a wise quail who lives happily with his family in a deep forest. A clever bird-hunter lures the quails with clever calls and throws nets over them. The Sage suggests to his family that, when trapped by the hunter's net, they should poke their heads through an opening and then beat their "wings in a flurry and take to the air." They do what is suggested and it succeeds. They come down over a thorn bush and can wriggle out underneath the net and bush. After some recurrences, the hunter's wife chides him upon his empty-handed return home. The hunter answers that soon enough the spirit of cooperation will dwindle among the quail, and he will be bringing home prey again. He turns out to be right. The Sage takes his family away to safety, but those remaining bicker and are taken. "So it was in ancient times that quarreling birds were captured by the hunters, but those who learned to work together could escape the cleverest foe."

1986 A King, a Hunter, and a Golden Goose. A Jataka Tale. No editor or author acknowledged. Illustrated by Jeanne Carlson and Stefanie Hoffmann, with the assistance of Deborah Black. Oakland, CA: Dharma Press. $3 at Chameleon, Seattle, July, '93. Dh5.

The golden goose's friend impresses the hunter first with generosity. Then the golden goose himself, when he learns of the queen's need, begs "Tie me up again." This seems to be a heavy-handed miracle story with strong lessons of self-sacrifice and generosity. The special feature of the art of this series seems to lie in the golden lines used to outline portions of a given picture.

1986 Great Gift and the Wish-Fulfilling Gem. Retold by Lama Mipham. Illustrated by Terry McSweeney. Paperbound. Oakland, CA: Jataka Tales Series: Dharma Publishing. $3.97 from the publisher, Dec., '04. Dh6. 

Great Gift is the beloved son of a kind, rich, respected government minister. Great Gift becomes unhappy when first his father takes him to town and he sees people so poor that they have to work hard or to steal. After rejecting the simple gift of riches to them, he decides to search for what alone can help them, a wish-fulfilling gem. A caravan and then ocean trip brings him to the island known as the "Fountain of Jewels." But none of the jewels here are wish-fulfilling gems, so he asks to be dropped off elsewhere by the merchants as they return. Great Gift shows a remarkable ability to calm enemies by his gift of love, including the Nagas (dragons) guarding the castle where wish-fulfilling gems are kept. The Naga king gives Great Gift the wish-fulfilling gem from his crown in return for a month's teaching. The gem brings to everyone on earth enough to fill their needs. People gather, and Great Gift teaches them how to be happy and how to live in harmony. The art here follows several different styles. Some illustrations seem decidedly Indian. Others move into a pop style.

1986 The Fish King's Power of Truth. Tarthang Tulku and Sarvam Mangalam. Illustrated by Bradley Clemmons and Julia Witwer. Paperbound. Printed in USA. Oakland, CA: Jataka Tales Series: Dharma Publishing. $4.95 from BookBuyers, Mountain View, CA, July, '03. Dh7.

The first line here proclaims that once the Buddha was born as a King of Fishes. A drought reduces the happy lake to a crowded pond, with fish-eating birds circling above it. The Fish King prayed for rain, and it was granted. The basis of his prayer was his love for his fellow creatures. When the lake became full, the Fish King again prayed, this time that the rain would stop, and it did. The god Indra appeared and promised that the lake and land would never dry up again. It is not clear what role Tulku and Mangalam play in the production of this booklet. They sign the introductory page about Jataka Tales.

1986 The King and the Goat: A Jataka Tale. Tarthang Tulku and Sarvam Mangalam. Illustrated by Deborah Black. Paperbound. Printed in USA. Emeryville, CA: The Jataka Tales: Dharma Publishing. $4.95 from BookBuyers, Mountain View, CA, July, '03. Dh8.

This book is consistent in form and bibliographical data with The Fish King's Power of Truth from the same year. A Naga ruler left his realm and took the shape of a snake. Senaka, the King of Benares, saw some boys abusing the snake and ordered them to stop. To reward him, the Naga gave him the gift to understand the speech of animals. A greedy wife coaxed Senaka to give her the secret spell to open her ears to the animals' talk. Senaka knew he would die for telling her, according to the promises he had made upon reception of the gift of understanding animals' talk. Shakra and one of her maidens then changed themselves into warring goats and appeared before Senaka. Shakra upbraided Senaka for "selling himself" when he had duties to take care of. When he said that he gave his word, he was advised to tell his wife that she needed to follow the procedure he had followed to get to understand animal speech. He proposed a trial of one hundred blows. She gave up after only a few. "You care about your own suffering, but you did not care if I died to satisfy your greed." The queen left the kingdom and never returned. At the end, the Buddha reveals that he was Shakra, king of the gods, in the story. It is not clear what role Tulku and Mangalam play in the production of this booklet. They sign the introductory page about Jataka Tales.

1989 A Precious Life: A Jataka Tale. Illustrated by Rosalyn White. Large-format pamphlet. Oakland, CA: Dharma Press. $2.70 from The Prince and the Pauper, San Diego, Jan., '01. Dh12. 

The Great Being, who is a deer, shows mercy to the prince who had tried to hunt and kill him. In fact, the deer revives him after a terrible accident at a ravine during the pursuit. The deer carries him out of the ravine. Offered whatever he wants, the deer asks the hunter to renounce hunting animals. The hunter henceforth realizes that any animal he encounters might be a Great Being. The special feature of the art of this series seems to lie in the golden lines used to outline the portions of a given picture.

1989 Courageous Captain. A Jataka Tale. Story adapted by Dharma Publishing editorial staff. Illustrated by Rosalyn White. Oakland, CA: Dharma Press. $3 at Chameleon, Seattle, July, '93. Dh9.

A heavy-handed miracle story. The special feature of the art of this series seems to lie in the golden lines used to outline the portions of a given picture.

1989 Heart of Gold: A Jataka Tale. Illustrated by Rosalyn White. Paperbound. Oakland, CA: Jataka Tale Series: Dharma Press. $6.37 from the publisher, Dec., '04. Dh10. 

"Heart of Gold" is in fact a human being who rejoices to give his immense wealth to those less fortunate. Shakra, one of the devas in heaven, declares that it is too easy for a rich man to be generous. "Let him lose a little wealth, and we shall see if he doesn't become stingy!" Soon he is stripped of everything except a rope, a sickle, and his nightshirt. Shakra offers one last, great temptation: "Store up some wealth, so that you will have more to give in the future." Heart of Gold resists, saying especially that there is no time for what he suggests. The special feature of the art of this series during the late 1980's seems to lie in the golden lines used to outline the portions of a given picture. Perhaps the best of the images shows Heart of Gold's earthly possessions leaving him in a very literal sense near the middle of this unpaginated, oversized pamphlet.

1989 The Best of Friends: A Jataka Tale. Illustrated by Rosalyn White. Large-format pamphlet. Oakland, CA: Dharma Press. $2.70 from The Prince and the Pauper, San Diego, Jan., '01. DH 11. 

A Great Being, in the form of a woodpecker, frees a lion from a bone caught in his throat. They encounter each other later, when the woodpecker is hungry and the lion has just made a kill. The lion dismisses the woodpecker. The latter will not, however, get revenge, as he tells a sky fairy. He explains that "He helped the lion in order to end his pain, not to gain a reward." The woodpecker adds that he counts as friends everyone he meets. The special feature of the art of this series seems to lie in the golden lines used to outline the portions of a given picture.

1989 The Magic of Patience: A Jataka Tale. Illustrated by Rosalyn White. Paperbound. Jataka Tale Series: Dharma Press. $6.36 from the publisher, March, '05. Dh28.

The Great Being, who is a buffalo, lives within a jungle with a mischievous monkey. The monkey plays constant tricks on the buffalo, but the buffalo remains patient with his pranks and foolishness. A forest sprite asks the buffalo why he puts up with this creature whom he could easily crush. The buffalo answers that the monkey is doing him a favor by teaching him patience. The sprite asks how he can learn patience, and the buffalo answers that you need a real rascal. Gentle and kind creatures will not help. The sprite goes off, and it turns out that the monkey has overheard the conversation. He asks the buffalo for forgiveness. As for the visual style, we are here in the "gold line" period for Dharma's Jatakas.

1989 The Power of a Promise: A Jataka Tale. Illustrated by Rosalyn White. Paperbound. Oakland, CA: Jataka Tale Series: Dharma Press. $6.37 from the publisher, Dec., '04. DH13.

Sutasoma, "Brilliant Moon," is a ruling prince with extraordinary love of truth and lack of fear. The lion-like Kalmasha interrupts him as he is about to greet a wise man. Kalmasha, a self-described eater of princes, lets Sutasoma return to his reign, challenging him to fulfill his promise to come back once he has had the opportunity to listen to the wise old man. Sutasoma enjoys that opportunity and then, against his family's pleadings, returns to Kalmasha. Sutasoma approaches Kalmasha with compassion, trusting that his heart can change since he allowed Sutasoma the visit with the wise man. Kalmasha is indeed struck by Sutasoma's faithfulness to his promise. Soon, though with difficulty, he gives up eating princes and anyone else. He becomes famous as the Lion Prince. The special feature of the art of this series during the late 1980's seems to lie in the golden lines used to outline the portions of a given picture. Perhaps the best of the images shows Sutasoma returning to Kalmasha with a lotus in his hand; Kalmasha is agape with surprise at his return.

1989 The Rabbit in the Moon. A Jataka Tale. Story adapted by Dharma Publishing editorial staff. Illustrated by Rosalyn White. Oakland, CA: Dharma Press. $3 at Chameleon, Seattle, July, '93. Dh14.

This seems to me to be more of a Buddhist preaching story than a fable in the Aesopic vein. A rabbit has a Francis-like impact on others. He stays up one night wondering how he can do good to others the next day. Shakra comes into the woods disguised as an old man. The rabbit's companions give the old man gifts based on the knowledge they gained through their own evil. Finally rabbit for his gift has the man make a fire. Soon enough rabbit jumps into it to offer the man his own body to eat. Shakra saves him and makes him the rabbit in the moon.

1990 The Parrot and the Fig Tree. Illustrated by Michael Harman. Hardbound. Printed in USA. Oakland: Jataka Tales Series: Dharma Publishing. $3.60 from Shakespeare, Berkeley, Sept., '02. Dh15.

Copy by copy, I am making my way and building my holdings from this Jataka Tales Series, which--according to this book--numbers some nineteen books. Where other volumes used gold lines to outline the figures, Harman here uses black. The LC blurb is accurate: "A parrot who dwells happily in a fruitful fig tree is tested for his loyalty to the tree by Shakra, king of the gods, who causes the tree to dry up." The parrot proves himself, and the tree is restored at his request. The art is simple and rich. Again, the Jataka tales are outspokenly altruistic. There is a double-page at the end for children to color. See also the versions in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

1990 The Value of Friends. Illustrated by Eric Meller. Jataka Tales Series. Oakland: Dharma Publishing. $7.95 at Holmes, Oakland, Aug., '94. Dh16.

The LC blurb is accurate: the hawk and his family are made aware of the value of friendship when their friends the osprey, the lion, and the tortoise save them from hungry country folk. These Jataka tales are outspokenly altruistic. This particular volume is characterized by the gold-lines that define the figures. Two double-pages at the end are for children to color. 

1991 The Rabbit Who Overcame Fear. Illustrated by Eric Meller. Jataka Tales Series. Oakland: Dharma Publishing. $6.95 at Holmes, Oakland, Aug., '94. Dh17.

This is the standard tale of the timid rabbit who hears the thud of a ripe mango dropping near him and thinks it is the end of the world. The accent here is on the altruism of the lion who stops the animals from running off a cliff into the sea. I do not like Meller's simple art style. I now have five booklets in this Dharma series that has grown to twenty; the others came out in 1986, 1989 (x2), and 1990. Again here there are two double-pages at the end for children to color. See also the Portuguese version

1991 The Rabbit Who Overcame Fear.  Illustrated by Eric Meller.  Paperbound.  Oakland: Jataka Tales Series:  Dharma Publishing.  $3 from Berkeley, June, '13.  Dh17.

Here is a later or -- perhaps more likely -- earlier printing of a book already in the collection, with slight changes in format, for example on the page describing the Jataka Tale Series, now presented in two columns.  The verso of the title-page also gives an address now for Dharma Publishing.  The back cover does not list a price.  This is the standard tale of the timid rabbit who hears the thud of a ripe mango dropping near him and thinks it is the end of the world.  The accent here is on the altruism of the lion who stops the animals from running off a cliff into the sea.  I do not like Meller's simple art style.  I now have five booklets in this Dharma series that has grown to twenty; the others came out in 1986, 1989 (x2), and 1990.  Again here there are two double-pages at the end for children to color.

1993 A Treasury of Wise Action: Jataka Tales of Compassion and Wisdom. Karabi Sen et al. Illustrated by Rosalyn White. First printing. Paperback. Printed in USA. Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing. $10.95 from Powell's Books, Portland, OR, March, '96. Dh18. 

Dharma had already published many Jatakas stories individually in large format for younger children. Here they turn to an anthology of Jataka tales suitable particularly for older children between the ages of 9 and 12. As the Introduction says, "Story after story encourages us to listen to our hearts, to deeply admire acts of wisdom, and to act, like the heroes of these stories, with love, compassion, and joy" (viii). There are twenty-two stories here in all. As is clear in the first story, "King Banyan Deer," admiration for selfless action is very strong here (3). The king stag, whose life had already been assured by the king, offers himself in the place of a pregnant doe. When the king has spared his life, the deer king bargains with the human king first for his herd, then for other deer, and finally for all living things. These stories are touching. A king besieged by seven kings and their armies asks his best knight to go out on his own horse. The knight captures six kings from their camps, one by one, but the horse is wounded in the sixth attack. The horse generously volunteers for the seventh attack, which only he can make succeed. After its success, he pleads for the lives of the captured kings and dies (19). The familiar story of "The Crocodile and the Gorilla" (45) has the gorilla return to the tree to get his heart for the crocodile. At the story's end here, the wise gorilla convinces the crocodile not to envy others but to be content with the strength within her own heart. The stories do not include the usual conclusion identifying one or more of the characters with the Buddha. There is one full-page red-and-yellow line drawing per story by the same artist who had collaborated on the earlier large-format books, Rosalyn White. The illustrations are contemplative rather than realistic.

1998 The Monkey King: A Jataka Tale. Inspired by Nazli Gellek. Adapted by Grania Davis. Illustrated by Sheila Johnson. Paperbound. Berkeley, CA: Jataka Tales Series: Dharma Press. $6.36 from the publisher, Dec., '04. Dh20.

By this point, Dharma had set up in Berkeley. The style of the art in this booklet is slightly eclectic. Elements in the mix include the colorful flat Indian backgrounds that we know from other Jataka booklets from Dharma. New here is a cross-hatched method for indicating monkey fur. This method contrasts sharply with the earlier Dharma penchant for solid colors. A monkey king in the Himalayas is kind to his eighty thousand monkey subjects. He and the other monkeys enjoy the fruit from a spectacular mango tree that spreads out over the river. The monkey king fears that some day the fruit and flowers of the tree will move downstream in the Ganges to Benares. He instructs his subjects to pick all the fruit and flowers over the river. But they miss one clump of fruit hidden by a nest. As it happens a bathing prince in Benares discovers a particularly good mango. Soon--in a quick and rather abrupt move in the story--the prince is under the great tree at a fire. When he hears that there are many monkeys in the tree, he plans on a feast of monkey meat on the morrow. Alarmed on behalf of his people, the monkey king spreads himself from the mango to a nearby bamboo as a bridge over which the eighty thousand monkeys can escape. And escape they do! The last of the monkeys, however, is an enemy of the king and jumps on his back. The king's heart breaks. The prince notices and has compassion on the prince who has given himself for his people. The prince interviews the monkey king, who dies the next morning of his broken heart. The prince becomes king and remembers the wise monkey king's teaching about serving his people. This is one of many booklets in the Jataka Tales Series that I purchased directly from the publisher.

1999 A Wise Ape Teaches Kindness: A Jataka Tale. Adapted by Dharma Publishing staff. Illustrated by Andrea Kassof. Paperbound. Berkeley, CA: Jataka Tales Series: Dharma Press. $6.36 from the publisher, Dec., '04. Dh21.

The art here has a heavy accent on pleasing colors presented in a flat, two-dimensional felt-board style. I find it attractive. A kind ape is ready to help the smaller creatures in any way that he can. A farmer falls from a fruit tree near a waterfall. After some days in a pit, he is weak and hungry. The ape happens by and takes pity on the man. He carries him out of the pit on his back and then lies down exhausted and asks the man to watch out for them both. Once the ape is asleep, the man gives in to the desire to eat the monkey's flesh; he throws a stone down on him to kill him. But the man is so weak that the stone does not kill the ape. The ape awakens with pain to comprehend the scene. When he does, he weeps--for the man rather than for himself. He tells the man that now no one, not even the ape himself, has the power to erase the man's misdeed. In kind fashion, he guides the man safely to the edge of the forest. Very soon the man breaks out into sores, and people fear him and drive him away with stones. After some time, this wretched man meets a king in the wilderness and teaches him to be kind to his friends. This is one of many booklets in the Jataka Tales Series that I purchased directly from the publisher.

2001 Pieces of Gold: A Jataka Tale. Adapted by the Dharma Publishing staff. Illustrated by Emily Jan. Paperbound. Berkeley, CA: Jataka Tales Series: Dharma Press. $4.76 from the publisher, Dec., '04. Dh22.

Here is yet another style for Dharma's Jataka Tales Series. The emphasis here lies on elements like dimensionality, fluidity, and contour. Two rich brothers are traveling. The younger substitutes a bag of gravel for his brother's sack of gold coins. The younger brother thinks then that he is throwing the bag of gravel overboard when he appears to stumble and drop it. It is really the bag of coins that goes overboard; the river goddess watches over it and has a big fish swallow it. When the younger brother at home discovers his mistake, he is disconsolate. The big fish is caught and up for sale; it goes to the older brother. His wife cuts it open and finds the sack, and he recognizes it as his. The river goddess hovers in his home and lets him know that this is a reward for the generosity he showed in feeding the fish of the Ganges. Against her advice, the older brother gives his younger brother half of the money; the latter, "filled with shame for his selfish and dishonest action," resolves to change his ways and to practice generosity from that time on. This is one of many booklets in the Jataka Tales Series that I purchased directly from the publisher. Several of them were on sale because damaged. This is one of those: the pages are either separated from the binding or on their way to separation.  See also the French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish versions.

2001 The Princess Who Overcame Evil: A Jataka Tale. Adapted by Dharma Publishing editorial staff. Illustrated by Julia Witwer. Paperbound. Berkeley, CA: Jataka Tales Series: Dharma Press. $6.36 from the publisher, Dec., '04. Dh23.

This is a love story. Prince Sudhana and Manohara are deliriously happy with each other, but two ministers plot against them. He is sent to war, and she is to be offered as a sacrificial victim. She flies away and leaves instructions for him to follow her. She will be hard to find. He returns triumphant, only to become desolate over finding her gone from his home. He follows her trail, overcomes many difficulties, and is happily reunited with her. His last test from her father consists in facing five hundred women who look just like her. He is able to pick out his Manohara in a moment. The art is heavy on pastels. The strongest illustrations might be those depicting her capture and their reunion. They are repeated, respectively, on the title-page and the front cover.

2002 The Jewel of Friendship: A Jataka Tale. Illustrated by Magdalena Duran. Paperbound. Berkeley, CA: Jataka Tale Series: Dharma Press. $6.36 from the publisher, March, '05. Dh27.

Two sons of a Benares professor are suddenly left orphans. They travel to the Ganges and build two huts, the older son's at a greater distance from the riverbank, the younger's right on the bank. A naga, king of serpents, happens to have a palace deep in the river at this point. One day he passes near the younger son's hut and conceives the idea of becoming his friend. He transforms himself into a young man of his age. He asks the younger son "Why do you choose to live so isolated?" They converse for some time. In the course of days, they become good friends. Hoping that familiarity will have taken away any fear, the naga decides at last to reveal himself in his true form. The boy tries to hide his fear, but it still keeps him from either sleeping or eating. He goes to his older brother and tells him everything. The older brother learns that his brother wants to be rid of the frightening friend, and he advises him to ask for the jewel on his forehead and to keep asking for three days. The jewel after all is the source of his beauty, power, and magic. When the request is repeated for three days, the naga says to himself that the boy is interested not in him but in his jewel, and so he returns to his palace. He no longer visits the boy. The boy becomes lonely and emaciated, and his brother now counsels him to learn to love the naga for himself and not for his jewel. Only then will he part with the jewel. The boy calls the naga and sees pure love in his eyes. The naga drops the jewel at the boy's feet. At the end of the day, the boy gives it back to him. Their love has its own magical power. The art is characterized here, as in another of Duran's Jataka contributions, The King Who Understood Animals: A Jataka Tale, by the almond-shaped eyes of human beings.  See also the French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish versions. 

2002 The King Who Understood Animals: A Jataka Tale. Adapted by Dharma Publishing editorial staff. Illustrated by Magdalena Duran. Paperbound. Berkeley, CA: Jataka Tales Series: Dharma Press. $6.36 from the publisher, Dec., '04. Dh24. 

Senaka, King of Benares, protects a snake attacked by some boys. This snake is actually a naga, He visits Senaka and offers him a secret spell that allows him to understand the speech of animals. But he must never reveal the spell to anyone; if he does, he must die. When he does understand animals around a picnic he is having with the queen--and when he laughs over what he hears--the queen becomes angry and thinks he is laughing at her. He finally admits his gift to her, and she comes to desire it deeply. He finally agrees to tell her the magic words. Shakra appears to Senaka in the form of a goat and lets Senaka know how selfish the queen is to allow his death for her own gain. His people will suffer at her hands. Senaka soon tells his wife that the price for getting the secret spell is to withstand one hundred blows from a bamboo stick. After a few, she gives up. He upbraids her: she would not take a small bit of suffering but was willing to let him die and the people suffer without him. She leaves the kingdom and never returns. From then on, he avoided foolish promises. With Shakra's help, he rules long and well. The art is notable for its emphasis on almond-shaped eyes, akin to those in some very early Greek statues. Does this booklet replicate the earlier The King and the Goat? See also the Spanish version.

2002 Wisdom of the Golden Goose: A Jataka Tale. Adapted by Dharma Publishing editorial staff. Illustrated by Sherri Nestorowich. Paperbound. Berkeley, CA: Jataka Tales Series: Dharma Publishing. $6.36 from the publisher, Dec., '04. Dh25.

A magnificent golden royal goose rules over 90,000 geese. Queen Khema dreams of a visit from a magnificent golden goose and cannot live without that goose. Learning that there is such a goose in his kingdom, the king orders a careful strategic approach to capturing this golden goose. Once he is captured, the goose gives a loud call that alerts the geese to flee. Only one remains, his friend Sumukha. Sumukha protects him from the hunter, who soon arrives, and is ready to give up life to save him. The hunter is deeply moved by Sumukha's self-sacrifice. The hunter frees them both, but the golden goose soon learns why he was sought and offers to go voluntarily to the queen who says that she needs him. The king and queen gladly listen all night to the wisdom the golden goose has to offer them. The style here is one of overlaying text onto a portion of the pictured page; the overlaid segment has a weaker pigment than other segments of the illustrations.  Does this book replicate the earlier A King, a Hunter, and a Golden Goose? See also the French and Spanish versions.

2004 The Monster of Lotus Lake: A Jataka Tale. Adapted by Dharma Publishing editorial staff. Illustrated by Sherri Nestorowich. Paperbound. Berkeley, CA: Jataka Tales Series: Dharma Publishing. $6.36 from the publisher, Dec., '04. Dh26.

The brothers Moon and Peace set out with their stepbrother Sun from their father's royal palace with heavy hearts. Sun's mother has tried to claim the succession for him in answer to an earlier promise from the king. The king urges Moon and Peace to go to the woods to hide out until he dies. Sun sees them leaving and joins them. They arrive near a lake that belongs to Kuber, the god of wealth. Kuber has given the lake to a monster to live in; he may eat anyone who enters into the lake and does not know right and wrong. The monster asks anyone he catches "What is right and what is wrong?" He gobbles up anyone who cannot answer correctly, but secretly he longs to hear the answer. The monster imprisons Moon and then Sun, who give only partially correct answers. Peace sees through the monster, acts warily with him, gives him good answers, and so rescues his brothers. When they learn of the father's death, they return and Peace rules in harmony. The monster gives up eating people and has a special place near the palace. Even the queen is reconciled to the arrangement and lives out her days in peace. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the art is the depiction of the lizardlike green monster.

2005 Three Wise Birds: A Jataka Tale. Revised for this publication by Constance Meaney. New edition illustrated by Zohra Kalinkowitz. Hardbound. Berkeley, CA: Jataka Tales: Dharma Publishing. $6.36 from the publisher. March, '05. 

This booklet reworks the Dharma production with the same title from 1976. It substitutes "A Jataka Tale" for the ealier "Tales of the Buddha." It acknowledges a new visual artist, Kalinkowitz. A childless king adopts three birds: an owl, a mynah, and a parrot. When he dies, the king turns his kingdom over to the wise parrot Jambuka, but Jambuka (who turns out to have been the Buddha) refuses rule and leaves the kingdom to the administration of the king's ministers, since he knows that they can rule well without him. The illustrations here are done in a style not usual in Dharma's Jatakas. It is as though Dharma is conceding to mainline visual presentation.

 

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