A monkey, an otter, a jackal and a rabbit resolved to practice charity on the day of the full moon.
They saw a very old beggar, who was begging for food. “Poor beggar,” they thought. “He looks hungry and has no food. Let us give him some food.”
First, the monkey plucked some fruits from the trees. He brought the fruits and laid them in front of the old beggar.
Next, the otter collected some fish and brought it to the old beggar.
The jackal was too lazy to find something that the beggar could eat, so he caught the first animal he could – a lizard, and placed it in front of the old beggar, along with some water.
The rabbit did not know what to get for the old beggar. He was not good at catching animals or fish, nor could he scale trees and get fruits. He only knew how to gather grass, but humans didn’t eat grass. He sat in a corner unhappily.
Suddenly he remembered that humans like to eat rabbit meat. So he got up happily, prepared a fire and jumped into it.
Oh! But what was this! The fire did not burn the rabbit!
The old man revealed himself to be Sakra, the ruler of Gods. “You have been very kind and selfless.” he said to the rabbit.
Touched by the rabbit’s selflessness and virtue, he drew the likeness of the rabbit on the moon.
“Henceforth, for all ages, all those who will look at the moon, will see your shape in it and remember your kindness.” he said.
This story is from Jataka Tales. Read more Jataka Tales here.