The Bodhisatta was once an illegitimate son of a king. While a king was out picking fruits and flowers in the forest, he met a peasant woman gathering firewood. They became intimate, and the Bodhisatta was conceived. The king gave the woman his signet ring in case she became pregnant: if she had a daughter she could sell the ring and use the money to raise her; if she had a son she should bring him to the palace.
One day, while he was a young boy, the Bodhisatta was out playing and the other children teased him for having no father. Upset, he ran home and asked his mother who his father was. When she told him, he demanded to go see the king, and she took him to the palace. The king knew she told the truth, but out of shame he denied his relations with her, claiming the ring was not his.
To prove she was telling the truth, she grabbed the Bodhisatta by the leg and hurled him into the air, telling the king, “If you are indeed the father of my child, I pray he stays in mid-air. But if not, may he fall and die.” The Bodhisatta floated cross-legged in the air and begged the king to accept him, which he did. His mother became the queen, and the Bodhisatta took the throne when his father died.
Art by Dasuni Chathurangi