I hadn’t heard of this Buddhist story before, so it was a pleasure to read it for the first time.
It centres around two kings (obviously!) There’s Brahmadatta, King of Benares and King Mallika, his neighbour. Both Kings believed that they treated their people fairly. One day, both Kings unbeknown to each other disguised themselves as merchants to find out if there were any complaints about their kingdoms.
They travelled for many days without hearing any complaints, until they both came to the edge of their kingdoms and met at the same spot. As there was no room to pass, the chariots halted and the drivers shouted at one another to move as they were carrying a King. They couldn’t decide who should pass first if the Kings were equally as great as each other. They suggested the youngest first- but both Kings were the same age. Then they suggested the smallest kingdom give way to the largest- but the kingdoms were the same size. King Mallika’s driver suggested that the most just ruler should pass. King Mallika’s driver said that his master conquered the fierce with his mighty sword and the wicked with greater wickedness. King Brahmadatta’s driver explained that he would pass then because his master conquered the fierce with calmness and the wickedness with goodness.
It was then that they realised the wise, peaceful King Brahmadatta should have right of way! 🙂
An extract from A Year Full of Stories, by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Christopher Corr (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2016)