Once the queen of a Benares king, having sworn a false oath, became a horse faced yakkha. She served Vessavana for three years and was given leave to eat people within a certain range. One day she caught a rich and handsome brahmin, and, falling in love with him, made him her husband. When she went out she shut him up, lest he should escape. The Bodhisatta was born as their son, and, on learning his father's story, discovered from the yakkha how far her power extended, and then escaped with his father. The yakkha followed, but they were outside her territory and would not be persuaded to return. She gave her son a charm enabling him to trace the footsteps of any person, even after the lapse of twelve years. On the strength of his charm, the lad entered the service of the king of Benares. One day, the king and his chaplain, wishing to test him, stole some treasure, took it away by devious paths, and hid it in a tank. The youth recovered it quite easily, tracing their footsteps even in the air. The king wished the names of the thieves to be divulged, but this the boy would not do. But he related to the king various stories, showing that he knew the real culprits. The king, however, insisted on the thieves being denounced, and when the boy revealed their names, the assembled populace murdered the king and his chaplain and crowned the Bodhisatta as king.
The story was related in reference to a seven year old boy of Sāvatthi who could recognize footsteps. His father put him through a severe test, and then went to the Buddha, where the boy found him. When the Buddha heard the story he revealed that of the past. The father of the story of the past is identified with Mahā Kassapa. J.iii.501 14.