Tales of a Parrot: Besheer and a Woman Named Chunder

This story is part of the Tales of a Parrot unit. Story source: The Tooti Nameh or Tales of a Parrot, by Ziya'al-Din Nakhshabi (1801).

Of the Intimacy of Besheer with a Woman Named Chunder

When the sun sunk into the westand the moon appeared in the east, Khojisteh, with an aching heart, came to the parrot and said, "I come to you every night to ask leave, and not to hear admonition."

The parrot answered, "Make yourself easy, Khojisteh, for now I will quickly unite you with your friend — just as the Arab who first suffered distress, and at length obtained satisfaction."

Khojisteh asked, "What is the nature of this story?"

The parrot began: 


In a city was a youth called Besheer who had formed an intimacy with a woman named Chunder. After some days, their secret became public. Chunder's husband removed her to another place, and Besheer was bewailing their separation day and night.

One day he said to an Arab with whom he had been long intimate, "I want to visit Chunder, but come you along with me."

The Arab consented.

In short, they both set out together. When they arrived near Chunder's dwelling, they alighted under a tree; Besheer sent the Arab, who went to her house, and presented his friend's compliments.

Chunder said, "At night I will be under that tree."

At night Chunder went to the spot, when Besheer clasped her round the waist, and the lovers were united. Besheer asked if she would continue there the whole night.

She answered "no," unless the Arab undertook a commission, in which case she would be able to stay."

The Arab asked what he was to do. Chunder said, "Put on my gown, enter my house, and sit down in the court-yard; when my husband comes with a bowl of milk and gives you to drink, don't take the bowl, neither uncover your face, upon which he will place the milk near you and go away; afterwards, drink it."

The Arab consented and got into her house.

When Chunder's husband came with the bowl of milk, all he said could not prevail on the Arab either to drink, or to open his mouth, or even to take the bowl from his hand. The husband fell into a rage and began scourging him, saying, "Notwithstanding I shew you so much indulgence, you will not open your lips nor give any answer to my words."

In short, he flogged the Arab so unmercifully that his skin was black and blue. When Chunder's husband left the Arab, he both wept and laughed.

At that juncture came Chunder's mother and said, "I am continually admonishing you; why will you not make a friend of your husband? If you pine after Besheer, your husband will not see your face again."

The mother went away and said to Chunder's sister, "Go and sit with her, and ask her why she will not agree with her husband."

Chunder's sister approached the Arab, who, at the sight of her face, forgot what he had suffered from the flogging and, putting his head out of the sheet, said, "Ah madam! Your sister is gone tonight to Besheer and sent me to fill her place; see what a flogging I have undergone for her sake. Come now and pass the night with me in order to preserve my secret, or otherwise both your sister and myself will suffer disgrace."

Chunder's sister laughed and then slept with the Arab. When it was near morning, the Arab repaired to Chunder, who asked him how he had passed the night.

He told her all the circumstances about the husband and shewed her his back. Chunder was greatly ashamed of herself, but knew not how pleasantly he had passed the night with her sister.

The parrot, having finished the story, said to Khojisteh, "Now arise and go to your sweetheart."

She wanted to have gone, but the cock crowed and the morning appearing, her departure was deferred.



(600 words)





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