Ja 232 The Story about the (Broken) Lute

In the present a young woman seeing a bull honoured, mistakenly thinks it is because of his hump, and seeks out a hunchbacked man to elope with. The Buddha tells a story of a similar happening in the past, and how she was brought home again.

1. Ekacintito yam-attho bālo apariṇāyako,
Na hi khujjena vāmena bhoti saṅgantum-arahasi.

Having had a sole thought of welfare the fool, who is not a guide, is surely not worthy to join up, dear lady, with the hunchbacked dwarf. I am understanding vāma to be short for vāmana here.

In this connection, having a sole thought of welfare, dear, you, having thought of welfare, fled with this hunchback, this must be the sole thought made by you.

The fool, who is not a guide means the hunchback fool, because of lacking in wisdom, even an old man is also a fool, taking another, while not going, because of being unable to go he is not a guide.

Is surely not worthy to join up, dear lady, with the hunchbacked dwarf, with this hunchback, with this dwarf and his dwarfness, dear lady, you, being born in a great family, being beautiful, lovely to behold, it is not worthy to go to join up together with him.

2. Purisūsabhaṁ maññamānā, ahaṁ khujjam-akāmayiṁ,
Soyaṁ saṅkuṭito seti chinnatanti yathā viṇā ti.

Thinking this was a bull of a man, I desired this hunchbacked man, this same shrunken person lies down like a lute with a broken string.

This is the meaning: sir, having seen a bull, thinking: “The hump on the back of the chief bull, he also has this, so it should be the same with the bull of a man.” So thinking... I desired this hunchback bull of a man. This is a rearrangement of the sentence in more regular prose order.

Just as what is called the fretboard of this lute with its sounding board has a broken string, so this shrunken person lies down.