Long ago, the Bodhisattva was born as a golden deer named Ruru. No other deer was as lovely as him. His golden body shone like the sun; his lotus eyes sparkled like the stars. He lived in the dense jungles in close friendship with the other animals. The tiger, the lion, the snake, the monkeys, the elephants and all the birds loved Ruru dearly, for he was very kind-hearted and gentle.
One day, while roaming the forest, Ruru heard a heart-wrenching cry. He turned around and say a man drowning in the river nearby. Without wasting a second, Ruru dived into the river. He grabbed the man with his front legs and pulled him with all his might towards the bank. Emerging from the cold water, the shivering man folded his hands and said, “Thank you gentle creature. I am indebted to you forever!” “Sir, do not say such things, for it is difficult to believe what men promise!” replied Ruru and walked away. The happy man returned safely to his village, where he spoke about his encounter with the golden deer Ruru. When the news reached the king, he decided to hunt down the precious animal and keep it as a trophy in his palace. The man was summoned to the palace. “If you help me catch the golden deer I shall reward you handsomely!” the king said. Overwhelmed with greed, the man immediately promised to take the king to Ruru. They reached the forest with a group of soldiers and were surprised to see Ruru standing there as if waiting for them. “Welcome to my humble abode, Sir,” said Ruru warmly to the king.
Both the man and the king were shocked. “How did Ruru know that we were coming to the forest?” the king asked the man. In a haste to get hold of his desired object, the king aimed his arrow at Ruru. But lo and behold, Ruru transformed into a handsome man right before their eyes! He had a bright halo behind his head and his eyes shone like the stars. “Who…who are you?” the king asked nervously. “I am the Almighty and I know everything that men think or do!” declared the man. He then turned to the man he had once rescued and said, “Remember, I had said that I don’t believe the promises men make, for more often than not, they turn out to be deceitful as yourself!” “I do!” stammered the man, who was almost on the verge of tears. “Please forgive me, O Lord!” he begged. “I was blinded by greed and had lost my good sense!” “Forgive me too,” cried the king. The next instant the Almighty once again became the golden deer Ruru. He blessed the two men and slowly went away. The king and the man returned with the precious realization that one should stay away from greed as it always leads one astray.
The author of this story is unknown and greatly appreciated!