Tales of a Parrot: The Commander of the Frogs, and the Snake

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 Shapoor, Commander of the Frogs, and the Snake

When the sun was set and the moon had got up, Khojisteh put on different kinds of jewels and, coming to the parrot to ask leave, said, "I conceive you are very negligent, for every night I am hearing your advice, but no advantage accrues to me from your counsel, and I cannot accomplish my desire."


The parrot answered, "Although there has been great delay in this affair, nevertheless be assured I will be the means of bringing you to your lover. O Khojisteh! They are called wise who attend to every business, and whosoever doth not reflect on the event, will repent of it, as Shapoor was sorry for his folly."

Khojisteh asked, "Who is Shapoor, and what is the nature of his story?"

The parrot said, 

In the land of Arabia was a deep well in which were a great number of frogs, one of whom, named Shapoor, was their chief.

Shapoor exercised great tyranny and oppression, whereby the frogs being reduced to the utmost distress, consulted together, saying, "We have barely escaped with life under the government of Shapoor; we ought to elect some other from amongst ourselves to rule over us."

Then they appointed another frog chief and banished Shapoor from that place.

Shapoor being without resource, went to the hole of a snake and spoke in a low tone. The snake put his head out of the hole and, on seeing the frog, laughed heartily and said, "You, who are a morsel for me, why come you here to throw away your life?"

He answered, "I am come to you for advice and for my own good."

Says the snake, "Speak what you have to say."

The frog represented to the snake the circumstances of his case and said, "I want your assistance."

The snake was much pleased and, shewing great civility to the frog, said, "Shew me the well that I may avenge you of those frogs."

In short, the snake and the frog set out together and arrived at the well, in which were the frogs, and got into the well. In the course of a few days, the snake devoured all the frogs and made an end of them.

One day he said to Shapoor, "Is there not one frog more remaining in the well? I am at present very hungry; speedily contrive some means for my subsistence and keep me from starving."

Shapoor replied to the snake, "Having shewn your kindness for me by revenging me on the frogs, return now to your own habitation."

The snake said, "I will not leave you in solitude."

Shapoor was sadly alarmed and repented of having asked assistance from the snake.

In short, he said to the snake, "Very near this place is another well where there are plenty of frogs; if you command it, I will bring them here by artifice and stratagem." The snake gave him leave to go.

By this device, Shapoor, having escaped out of the well, ran and concealed himself in a large pond. The snake remained some days in expectation, after which he left the well and pursued his own way.

The parrot, having finished this tale, said to Khojisteh, "Go now; tarry not."

Khojisteh wanted to have gone; at that moment the animals of morning made a noise and, day beginning to break, her departure was deferred.


(600 words)






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