The Bodhisatta was once chaplain to the king of Benares and knew a spell called Pathavījaya (subduing the world). One day he retired to a lonely place and was reciting the spell. A jackal, hiding in a hole near by, overheard it and learned it by heart. When the Bodhisatta had finished his recital, the jackal appeared before him, and saying: "Ho, brahmin, I have learnt your spell," ran away. The Bodhisatta chased him, but in vain. As a result of learning the spell, the jackal subdued all the creatures of the forest and became their king, under the name of Sabbadātha. On the back of two elephants stood a lion and on the lion's back sat Sabbadātha, with his consort.
Filled with pride, the jackal wished to capture Benares, and went with his army and besieged the city. The king was alarmed, but the Bodhisatta reassured him, and, having learnt from Sabbadātha that he proposed to capture the city by making the lions roar, gave orders to the inhabitants to stop their ears with flour. Then he mounted the watch tower and challenged Sabbadātha to carry out his threat. This Sabbadātha did, and even the lions on which he rode joined in the roar. The elephants were so terrified that, in their fright, they dropped Babbadātha, who was trampled to death. The carcases of the animals which died in the tumult covered twelve leagues.
The story was related in reference to Devadatta’s attempts to injure the Buddha, which only resulted in working harm upon himself.
The jackal is identified with Devadatta and the king with Ananda (J.ii.242 6).
The story is referred to in the Milinda-Pañha (Mil. P. 202), and there the Bodhisatta's name is given as Vidhura.