Tales of a Parrot: Four Rich Persons who Became Poor

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).

Four Rich Persons who Became Poor

When the sun descended into the caverns of the west and the moon came out of the east, Khojisteh, with aching breast and weeping eyes, went to the parrot, and said, "Alas, you green coat! The sorrows of love overwhelm me; every night you make me lose my time by your admonitions and discourse. I am in love; of what use is admonition to me?"

The parrot replied, "My mistress, what a speech is this? However, the words of friends ought to be attended to, and they who refuse to hearken to the voice of friends will repent it, as a certain person did."

Khojisteh desired to hear the story.

The parrot said: 




Once on a time, in the city of Balkh, there were four persons, men of property, who united together in friendship. It happened that they all became poor, and all four repaired to a philosopher and told him the circumstances of their distress.

The philosopher had compassion on them and gave each a miraculous ball, which he ordered them to place on their respective heads and to set out, and said, "Wherever the balls fall from your heads, there dig, and whatever is your destiny will come out of the ground; take it."

The four friends, according to the philosopher's directions, set out together; when they had gone five cose, the ball fell from one of their heads; he dug on the spot and found copper. He said to his three friends, "I prefer this copper in hand to gold in expectancy; if you desire it, continue here."

They did not accept of his offer but proceeded on their way. When they had gone a little farther, the second man's ball fell from his head, on which spot a silver-mine was discovered. He said, "If you are willing, remain here; this silver is your property."

They were not satisfied. When they had gone on, another man's ball fell from his head, and he, digging there, found a gold-mine. He said to the fourth person, "No metal is preferable to gold; I wish that you and I should fix here."

He answered, "Farther on, there will be a mine of precious stones : why should I stop here?"

He went on a cose, when his ball fell from his head and, on digging the ground, he saw an iron-mine. Repentant, he said, "Why did I quit the gold-mine and reject the advice of my friend?"

In short he returned from thence, but neither found his friend nor the gold-mine. He said to himself: "No person can find beyond what is his destiny."

He set out again towards the iron-mine but, notwithstanding all his search, could not regain it. Helpless, he went in quest of the philosopher, who was not to be found. Reduced to extreme poverty, he bewailed his folly.

The parrot, having finished this discourse, said to Khojisteh, "Whosoever will not listen to the advice of friends will suffer like this unhappy man. Now arise and go to your lover, for this is a lucky hour."

Khojisteh wanted to have gone immediately, but the morning cock crowed and, day appearing, her departure was delayed.


(500 words)






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