19


SUDAS, THE GARDENER, plucked from his tank the last lotus left by the ravage of winter and went to sell it to the king at the palace gate.

There he met a traveller who said to him, 'Ask your price for the last lotus,-1 shall offer it to Lord Buddha.'

Sudas said. If you pay one golden masha it will be yours.'

The traveller paid it.

At that moment the king came out and he wished to buy the flower, for he was on his way to see Lord Buddha, and he thought. It would be a fine thing to lay at his feet the lotus that bloomed in winter.'

When the gardener said he had been offered a golden masha the king offered him ten, but the traveller doubled the price.

The gardener, being greedy, imagined a greater gain from him for whose sake they were bidding. He bowed and said, 1 cannot sell this lotus.'

In the hushed shade of the mango grove beyond the city wall Sudas stood before Lord Buddha, on whose lips sat the silence of love and whose eyes beamed peace like the morning star of the dew-washed autumn.

Sudas looked in his face and put the lotus at his feet and bowed his head to the dust.

Buddha smiled and asked, 'What is your wish, my son?'

Sudas cried, The least touch of your feet.'

 

 

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