The Elk and the Ass, who Are Both Taken Prisoners
The parrot said, "Khojisteh, continence is very commendable, but there is a time for all things; at present, it is as unpleasant as the ass's song."
Khojisteh asked, "What kind of story is that?"
The parrot said:
They have thus related: once on a time, an ass had contracted friendship with an elk, and they grazed together on the same spot. One night, in the season of spring, the ass and the elk happened to be grazing together. All of a sudden the ass was in high spirits and said to the elk, "In this delightful night, whilst the garden diffuses its sweets, and the air scatters musk all around us, if I were to sing, how pleasant it would be!"
The elk said to the ass, "What discourse are you uttering? You may be able to converse about pack-saddles and fullers, but your voice is harsh beyond all comparison; what business has an ass with singing? We have got into this garden by stealth, and if you should now begin braying, the gardener, being awakened, will call other men to his assistance, when you and I shall be made prisoners. Just as when some thieves, having got into the house of a rich man, found in a corner a vessel full of wine, which having seized and placed before them, they said, 'Let us now drink this liquor till it shall be time to commit the robbery.' When they had drunken the wine, they began to bawl and to sing; the master of the house awoke, gathered together his servants, seized the thieves, and put them in bonds."
The ass replied, "I am a citizen, and you a country boor; what judge are you of singing? Positively I will sing; what harm will it do you to hear me?"
In short, the ass began braying, which awakened the gardener and the master of the house, who bound them both.
The parrot, having finished this discourse, said to Khojistch, "My mistress, whosoever doth not act conformably to circumstances will meet with this fate; I would, therefore, advise you to observe all times. Arise, and go quickly to your friend."
Khojisteh wanted to have gone; at that instant, the cock crowed and, the dawn appearing, her departure was deferred.