46. KING AJATASATTU ASKING HIS MOTHER WHETHER HIS FATHER LOVED HIM
King Bimbisara died soon after the soles of his feet had been cut open with a knife. At the same time a son had been born to King Ajatasattu. The courtiers brought two messages: one, about the death of his father and the other about the birth of his son. They first presented him the message about the birth of his son. Love sprang in his heart upon his new-born son, right from the very marrow of his bones. He then began to have sympathy for his father, placing himself in the position of his father with regard to himself when he was a baby.
He, therefore, gave the order : "Set free my father at once". But the courtiers presented to him the message of his father's death, and he regretted very much for his hasty action. He, therefore, went to his mother and asked her, "Mother, did my father love me when I was a baby?" The Queen Mother then said, "What a question you have asked?" When you were young and had a sore called whitlow in your finger, your father kept it inside his mouth. The sore burst inside his mouth and pus came out ; even then instead of spitting the matter out he swallowed it lest it would cause you pain by taking the finger out". When she said this, both the mother and the son wept together.