A Hero Named Jinx (Jataka Tales – 18)


Once upon a time, there was a very rich man in Benaras. He had a good friend who had the somewhat strange name, Jinx. They had been the best of friends ever since they were little children making mud-pies together. They had gone to the same schools and helped each other always.

After graduating, Jinx fell on hard times. He couldn’t find a job and earn a living. So he went to see his lifelong friend, the prosperous and successful rich man. He was kind and comforting to his friend Jinx, and was happy to hire him to manage his property and business.

After he went to work in the rich man’s mansion. pretty soon his strange name became a household word. People said, “Wait a minute, Jinx,” “Hurry up, Jinx,” “Do this, Jinx,” ‘Do that, Jinx.”

After a while some of the rich man’s neighbors went to him and said, ‘Dear friend and neighbor, we are concerned that misfortune may strike. Your mansion manager has a very strange and unlucky name. You should not let him live with you any longer. His name fills your house, with people saying, ‘Wait a minute, Jinx,’

‘Hurry up, Jinx,’ ‘Do this, Jinx,’ ‘Do that, Jinx.’ People only use the word ‘jinx’ when they want to cause bad luck or misfortune. Even house spirits and fairies would be frightened by hearing it constantly and would run away. This can only bring disaster to your household. The man named Jinx is inferior to you – he is miserable and ugly. What advantage can you possibly get by keeping such a fellow around?”

The rich man replied, “Jinx is my best friend! We have supported and cared for each other ever since we were little tots making mud-pies together. A lifelong trustworthy friend is of great value indeed! I could not reject him and lose our friendship just because of his name. After all, a name is only for recognition.

“The wise don’t give a name a I second thought. Only fools are superstitious about sounds and words and names. They don’t make good luck or bad luck!” So saying, the rich man refused to follow the advice of his busybody neighbors.

One day he went on a journey to his home village. While he was away, he left his friend Jinx in charge of his mansion home.

It just so happened that a gang of robbers heard about this. They decided it would be a perfect time to rob the mansion. So they armed themselves with various weapons and surrounded the rich man’s home during the night.

Meanwhile, the faithful Jinx suspected that robbers might attack. So he stayed up all night to guard his friend’s possessions. When he caught sight of the gang surrounding the house, he woke up everybody inside. Then he got them to blow shell horns and beat drums and make as much noise as possible.

Hearing all this, the bandits thought, “We must have been given bad information. There must be many people inside and the rich man must still be at home.” So they threw down their clubs and other weapons, and ran away.

The next morning the people from the mansion were surprised to see the discarded weapons. They said to each other. “If we didn’t have such a wise house protector, all the wealth in the mansion would certainly have been stolen. Jinx has turned out to be a hero! Rather than bringing bad luck, such a strong friend has been a blessing to the rich man.”

When the master of the house returned home his neighbors met him and told him what had happened. He said, “You all advised against letting my friend stay with me. If I had done as you said, I’d be penniless today!

“Walking together for just seven steps is enough to start a friendship. Continuing for 12 steps forms a bond of loyalty. Remaining together for a month brings the closeness of relatives. And for longer still, the friend becomes like a second self. So my friend Jinx is no jinx – but a great blessing!”

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