Ja 256 Jarudapānajātaka
The Story about the Old Well

In the present some merchants leave from Jetavana to go and make their fortune. When they come across a well and start digging they find great riches, and soon return again. The Buddha tells a story of how some people in a past life had found similar riches but refused to stop digging and were killed by the Nāgas who got angry at the destruction.

⏑−⏑−−¦⏑⏑−−¦−⏑−⏑¦⏑−⏑− Siloka savipulā
1. Jarūdapānaṁ khaṇamānā, The opening has one syllable too many for the metre, both here and in the next pādayuga. vāṇijā udakatthikā,
Merchants, while digging an old well, desiring water,

−⏑⏑−⏑¦⏑−−−¦¦⏑⏑−−¦⏑−⏑− Siloka pathyā
Ajjhagamuṁ ayasaṁ lohaṁ tipusīsañ-ca vāṇijā,
The merchants came across iron, copper, and lead,

⏑⏑−−¦⏑−−−¦¦−−−⏑¦⏑−⏑− Siloka pathyā
Rajataṁ jātarūpañ-ca muttā veḷuriyā bahū.
Silver and gold, pearls, and beryl in abundance.

−⏑−⏑¦⏑−−−¦¦−−−−¦⏑−⏑− Siloka pathyā
2. Te ca tena asantuṭṭhā bhiyyo bhiyyo akhāṇisuṁ,
Not being content with that they dug (down deeper) more and yet more,

−−−−¦⏑−−−¦¦−−−−¦⏑−⏑− Siloka pathyā
Te tatthāsīviso ghoro tejassī tejasā hani.
There a poisonous snake, dreadful, fiery, destroyed them with fire.

−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑−¦¦⏑⏑−−¦⏑−⏑− Siloka bhavipulā
3. Tasmā khaṇe nātikhaṇe, atikhātañ-hi pāpakaṁ,
Therefore you should dig down, but not too much, digging too deep is bad,

−−⏑⏑¦⏑−−−¦¦⏑⏑−−¦⏑−⏑− Siloka pathyā
Khātena ca dhanaṁ laddhaṁ, atikhātena nāsitan-ti.
By digging down they gained wealth, (but) by digging too much it was lost.

Tattha, {2.296} ayasan-ti kāḷalohaṁ.
In this connection, iron means manganese. The two metals are often found together.

Lohan-ti tambalohaṁ.
Copper means copper. Both tamba and loha mean copper.

Muttā ti muttāyo.
Pearls means pearls. A different form of the plural.

Te ca tena asantuṭṭhā ti te ca vāṇijā tena dhanena asantuṭṭhā.
Not being content with that means the merchants, not being content with that wealth.

Te tatthā ti te vāṇijā tasmiṁ udapāne.
There … them means the merchants in that well.

Tejassī ti visatejena samannāgato.
Fiery means endowed with fiery poison.

Tejasā hanī ti visatejena ghātesi.
Destroyed them with fire means he destroyed them with fiery poison.

Atikhātena nāsitan-ti atikhaṇena tañ-ca dhanaṁ jīvitañ-ca nāsitaṁ.
By digging too much it was lost means by digging too much both wealth and life was lost.