九色鹿 Nine Color Deer

敦煌故事–鹿王本生
古時候,在一座景色秀麗的山中,有一隻鹿,雙角潔白如雪,渾身是九種鮮豔的毛色,漂亮極了!人稱九色鹿。
  
這天,九色鹿在河邊散步。突然,一個人抱著根木頭順流而下,在洶湧的波浪中奮力掙扎,高呼:“救命啊,救命!”美麗善良的九色鹿不顧自己安危,跳進河中,費盡九牛二虎之力,終於將落水人救上岸來。驚魂未定的落水人名叫調達,得救後頻頻向九色鹿叩頭,感激他說:“謝謝你的救命之恩。我對天起誓,永做你的奴僕,為你尋草覓食,終身受你的驅使……” 
  
九色鹿打斷調達的話頭說:“你的心意我領了,但我救你並不是讓你來做我的奴僕。快回家與親人團聚吧。你只要不向任何人洩露我的住處,就算是知恩圖報了。” 
  
調達又起誓說:“恩人請放心,如果背信棄義,就讓我渾身長瘡,嘴裡流膿!”說完,千恩萬謝地走了。這個國家的王妃,嫵媚動人。有一天夢到了毛色九種、頭角銀白的九色鹿。心 發奇想:如果用此鹿的皮毛做件衣服穿上,我定會顯得更加漂亮!於是,她嬌嗔地對國王訴說了美夢,要國王立即捕捉九色鹿。不然,就死在他面前。國王無奈,只好張貼皇榜,懸重賞捕鹿,有知九色鹿行踪或捕獲著,贈國土一半,並用銀碗裝滿金豆,金碗裝滿銀豆作為重賞。調達看了皇榜,心中暗喜:我當國王、發大財的機會到了。雖然我對鹿立下誓言,但它畢竟是個畜牲,怕什麼?於是揭了榜文,進宮告密,說自己知道九色鹿居住的地方。國王聞言大喜,調集了軍隊,由調達帶路,浩浩蕩盪地前來捕捉九色鹿。
  
山林之中,春光明媚。九色鹿在開滿紅花的草地上睡得正香。突然,好友烏鴉高聲叫喊道:“九色鹿,快醒一醒吧,國王的軍隊捉你來了!”九色鹿從夢中驚醒,起身一看,已處在刀槍箭斧的包圍之中,無法脫身。仔細一看,調達站在國王旁邊,便明白了。心想:即使死也要把他的醜惡嘴臉公佈於眾。於是,毫無俱色地走到國王面前,問:“大王,你是怎麼知道我的住處的?” 
  
“是他告訴我的。”國王指著調達說。 “你知道嗎?”九色鹿說,“正是這個人在河中快要淹死時,是我救了他,並發誓不暴露我的住地。誰知道他見利忘義,反复無常,聖明的陛下,你竟然同一個靈魂骯髒的小人來濫殺無辜,豈不辱沒了你的英名?” 
  
此時,調達無地自容,身上長滿了爛瘡,嘴裡流出了膿血,臭不可聞,遭到了報應。明白了事實真相,國王非常慚愧,責斥調達背信棄義,恩將仇報。傳令收兵回宮。並下令全國臣民不許傷害九色鹿。王后沒有得到九色鹿的皮毛,又羞又恨,最後活活氣死了。此故事繪於257窟的西壁,是莫高窟最完美的連環畫式本生故事畫。畫面從兩頭開始,中間結束。線索清晰,中心突出,全次分明,構圖嚴謹,是北魏的經典作品之一。後被載入教科書。

Nine Color Deer

“Once upon a time, there was a magnificent looking deer, the rarest one could find: its coat had nine colours, and its antlers were as the snow. It lived by the Ganges River with a crow as his friend.

One day, a man fell into the river and, in great fright, he yelled for help. Without much thought and regard for its own safety, the Deer of Nine Colours jumped into the water and saved him. The man was so grateful that he offered to be its slave and servant. The deer only wanted him not to disclose where it lived to avoid being hunted down and killed.

That night, at Royal Palace, the Queen had a dream: she saw a magnificent deer with a cost of nine colours and white antlers. It was the rarest animal one could find. She woke up and the deer she saw in her dream was firmly in her mind. She began to yearn for it, wanting to use its beautiful coat to sit on, and its snowy white antlers to make the handle of dusters. She pined for it so much that she told the King either he sent someone to catch it and bring it back to her, or she would die. In order to please his queen, the King decreed that anybody who could tell the whereabouts of the Deer of Nine Colours would be hugely rewarded.

The man who saved by the deer heard about it, and vicious greed rose in his heart. He thought, “That deer is just an animal. Does it matter if it lives or dies?” So he presented the information to the King. But as soon as he had done that, his face broke out in painful boils and sores. He still did not realise his mistake and brought the King’s army to the banks in order to hunt down the deer.

The deer saw them coming. It said to the King with dignity and grace, “ You should not kill me. I have served your country well. Your Majesty, this man fell into deep water a few days ago, and was going to be drowned had I not thrown myself into the river, carried him on my back and brought him to safety. I did that at the risk of my own life. It is very ungrateful of him to do this to me.”

The deer’s words rang with righteous truth, so much so that the King was ashamed of ever wanting to kill it. He admonished the man and said, “ You owe this deer your life, so how can you repay it by wanting it killed?”

Then, the King made a national decree that the deer was to be protected by law and should not suffer any harm. From then on, the country enjoyed clement weather, bumper harvests, and peace all over the land. His subjects also enjoyed a happy life, free from all illnesses and cares.

The moral of the story is that those with a good heart will be rewarded with goodness, and those with avarice and greed will be punished by inflictions.

 

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