Once the Bodhisatta was born as Mahimsāsa, son of the king of Benares. His brother was Canda and his stepbrother Suriya. Suriya's mother, having been granted a boon, claimed for him the kingdom. Mahimsāsa and Canda thereupon went into exile, but they were accompanied by Suriya. Arrived in Himavā, Mahimsāsa sent his two brothers to fetch water from a pool. There, first Suriya and then Canda, were seized by a demon who had been allowed by Vessavana to eat anyone entering the pond, provided he did not know the Devadhamma. Mahimsāsa then went himself to the pond, and on being questioned by the demon, preached to him the Devadhamma - which is to shrink from sin. The demon was pleased, and offered to release one of his victims. Mahimsāsa chose Suriya, and gave as his reason that he was afraid of being blamed by others. Thereupon the demon gave up both his brothers and showed the Bodhisatta great honour. The Bodhisatta converted him and he gave up his evil ways.
The story was related in reference to a rich man of Sāvatthi who joined the Order after his wife's death. But he continued to enjoy all kinds of luxuries until, arraigned before the Buddha, he pulled off his robes and stood only in his waist-cloth. The Buddha told him it was not the first time he had had to show him the error of his ways. He is identified with the water demon, Ananda with Suriya, and Sāriputta with Canda (J.i.126ff; DhA.iii.74-6).
The Nacca Jātaka was preached in reference to the same monk.