The Bodhisatta was once chaplain at the court of Brahmadatta, king of Benares. But the king, listening to his enemies, sent the Bodhisatta away from the court, and he dwelt in a village of Kāsi. Later, the king, remembering his chaplain's goodness, composed a verse, wrote it on a leaf, and sent it to him, together with cooked crow's flesh. The Bodhisatta understood the message and returned to the court.

The story was related in reference to the great wisdom of the Buddha. Ananda is identified with the king (J.ii.173 5). The Jātaka derives its name from the first two words of the verse composed by the king.

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