The story comes from the time when King Brahadatta used to rule the kingdom of Kasi. The story is of two aspiring merchants from the city of Varanasi. One named Bodhisatta and other Devadatta. Both of then were to set on their biggest and expensive expedition with a caravan of 500 carriages each towards the west thought the desert.
It came to Bodhisatta that, if Devadatta and himself keep the company all the way, things will fallout to be difficult and that they would end up making less fortune. If it were 1000 carriages on the road all at the same time, it would mean demand for more woods, water, food for men and animals. This will not once increase the cost but then they reach out for a bargains to sell of their goods they’ll get less because of oversupply.
He thus proposed to Devadatta that they should go one after the other with a gap of 6 weeks in between so as to make best from their voyages.
Bodhisatta said, “If I can go first, I can possibly reap some advantages like the roads will be in a better state, there will be a lot of posture for my Oxen, fruits and other herbs for my men, ample amount of water in lakes and ponds on the way. Also I will get to fix my own price for the goods more aggressively.” To this Devadatta up loaded, “I would like to go first sir”.
Bodhisatta continued, “Well, going second has its advantages like wherever roads are bumpy you’ll level it so I get smother roads, your Oxen will eat old grass and so my Oxen gets fresh green young sweet grass, similarly with the fruits and herbs for people. You’ll have to dig wells for water and I’ll get to use them. Besides it’ll be easier for me to trade when you have already fix the prices of the goods. So I am happy to go second!”. Devadatta and Bodhisatta agreed to this agreement.
Devadatta set on to his voyage first, he was soon up to enter 400 Kms long harsh desert. He asked his men to load extra gallons of water, tons of grass for Oxen and food suppliers for people on board. This additional weight had considerably restricted the speed of his caravan.
There are many types of dangers and creatures when you ventures out in wilderness. Here lived Goblin. They would first make men through away their water and food. Men in the middle of the dessert will faint out of hunger and thirst. Goblin would then devour upon these beings.
As the Goblin saw the caravan of humans approaching; with their mystical powers they drew up a beautiful carriage pulled by two pure white bulls, guarded by a dozen of mighty mesquiteers like a caravan of some great lord. They had blue lotuses, white water lilies wreathed round their heads, and completely drenched with water and mud on their shoes and wheels as if they was been waking though a rain storm though a lush forest.
As Goblin and Devadatta came across head to head they greeted each other curiously. They pulled a side and exchanged greetings, talked about their origin and destinations. On enquiring how they were wet, Gobin told then that, “behind us lay a lush forest which is full of vegetation and its always raining there”. Looking at the Devadatta slow moving caravan, they said, “you look very heavy, what is that you are carrying? Food and water! It was really wise of you to carry it all the way but, you will not need it here. In the forest there are lot many water bodies and orchids. You’ll like to alight all this unnecessary stuff now. This will make you travel easy ahead”. With this Gobins took their leave and vanished into grasslands.
Such was the folly of the foolish Devadatta, that without thinking of his own that he did the Goblin’s bidding. After unloading all his water and food he ordered his carts to drive on.
And they moved deep ahead not to find a drop of water or food. They marched all they day under the sun with their thirst and hunger until they could no further advance. By the sun-set the tired-out band sank to the ground to slumber. As the night approached the Goblins raise from their city and slew every single one of the men and oxen.
Unaware of the incidence Bodhisatta, on completion of 6 weeks of cooling period after Devadatta, had left was now ready to start his voyage. We was organized and prepared with everything his men and animals will need – food and water. He call all his men and addressed them on the hardships and risks of the travel ahead. He asked his fellows not to waste water, eat or touch anything from the forest as it can be poisonous. He asked them to be vigilant of by-passers.
As his caravan of 500 carriages reached in the wilderness, Goblin made their appearance. Seeing the some people approaching him, he thought to himself, “There’s no water here, this known to be desert with not one oasis. These people with red eyes, and aggressive bearing cast no shadows under the sun. Very likely they are mystical and their words can’t be trusted.” He calmly hear their advice give up there extra pounds of weight in water and food. And then he said, “Sir, we are men of business, and don’t throw our possessions.” The Gobins rode a bit further and vanished in the grass lands.
When the Gobins had gone, Bodhisatta’s men asked, ”Sir, we heard from the passersby that there is a lush green forest ahead and its always raining in there. We wouldn’t need water what we are carrying our carts any more. Let’s through the water and make our carts lighter.” To this Bodhisatta replied, “Have anyone of you ever heard of a such a forest or any lake ahead in the wilderness?” The people replied in negative. Then Bodhisatta asked, “Do you see clouds anywhere in the sky or hear any thunder?” and the people again said, “No, sir”. He told his people, “that they were try to lay a trap on us and that we shouldn’t fall.” He also told that we thinks that caravan of Devadatta has fallen prey to these Goblins and that he expects to find his carts further deep into the wilderness.
Bodhisatta moves ahead with all this water and food supplies. To his expectation they do not get any forest or rains by the time it is dust and time to camp. But what they can see a few yards ahead a long trail of carts but no men or oxen.
Bodhisatta asked his men to lay the camp carefully and be vigilant of the Goblins all night. Along with best of his men, he himself stood to guard that night. This is how wise Bodhisatta saved his good men and himself acting calm and thoughtfully.