Nothing whatsoever is known of the author or authors of the particular collection from which this story is taken. It is reprinted from Buddhist Birth Stories [Nidana-Katha], by T. W. Rhys Davids, London,
1880, by permission of the publishers, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co.
The Ass in the Lion’s Skin
Once upon a time, while Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the future Buddha was born one of a peasant family; and when he grew up, he gained his living by tilling the ground.
At that time a hawker used to go from place to place, trafficking in goods carried by an ass. Now at each place he came to, when he took the pack down from the ass’s back he used to clothe him in a lion’s skin, and turn him loose in the rice and barley-fields, and when the watchmen in the fields saw the ass, they dared not go near him, taking him for a lion. So one day the hawker stopped in a village; and while he was getting his own breakfast cooked, he dressed the