The Jātaka Tales are the Buddhist equivalent of Aesop’s Fables. They are morality stories. In the Buddhist cultures of that time, these were the stories that children grew up hearing. They were the popular entertainment of their time. Families would gather together in the evening after the day’s work was done and share these tales. And it is from these stories that people learned about the standards of conduct for followers of the Buddha.
Like Aesop’s Fables, the main characters in these stories can be a king, a merchant, a craftsperson, or an animal. This collection contains stories 201-250 of the 547 total stories. There are a number of stories about respect for one’s elders. Jātaka 202 even finds Sakka the God terrorizing a King who has mistreated elders. Jātaka 237 repeats the story of Jataka 68 in which the Buddha tenderly shows respect for his parents from previous lives.
The longest story in this collection is Jātaka 234 in which a musician takes care of his blind parents. It has a lovely scene in which the musician asks to be paid for his music by hearing the stories of devas who have been reborn in heaven due to their kindness.
And, of course, there are many stories involving monkeys! In some of these the monkey is a villain, but they can also be the heros. In Jātaka 222 it is the Buddha himself who is a self-sacrificing monkey and who tries to save his mother from a hunter.
In all, these stories represent the breadth the human experience. What we see is that in 2500 years, the spectrum of experiences has not changed at all.