Tales of a Parrot: Khojisteh and the Parrot

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).

Khojisteh and the Parrot

One day Miemun said to Khojisteh, "I am now going to perform a journey to a certain country and shall also make a voyage in order to visit several ports." After speaking to this purport, he commenced his journey. Khojisteh expressed great sorrow at the departure of Miemun and, being separated from the possesser of her heart, she neither slept during the night nor ate in the day.

To be brief, the parrot dispelled the sorrows of her heart, by relating pleasant stories. At the expiration of six months, one day Khojisteh, after having bathed herself and adorned her person, was looking out of a window at the top of the house into the street when a prince of another country, who had travelled into this city, having beheld the glowing cheeks of Khojisteh, was distracted with love, and Khojisteh also was fascinated at the sight of the prince. The same hour the prince sent a procuress to Khojisteh, privately, with a message, that provided she would only take the trouble to visit his house any night for four hours, he, in return for this condescension, would present her with a ring.

At first, however, she did not agree to his proposal, but at length the instigations of the procuress prevailed, and she returned him for answer that as day reveals, and night casts a veil over our actions, she would wait upon the prince after midnight.

Early at night, after having arrayed herself in her finest and best apparel, she repaired to the sharuk and, sitting down in a chair, thus reflected in her mind: "Because I am woman, and the sharuk is also a female, she will certainly listen to my words on the present occasion and give me leave to visit the prince."

With this persuasion, she represented to the sharuk all the particular circumstances of her case.

The sharuk advised her, saying, "You must not commit such an action, which is considered amongst your tribe as most heinous and disgraceful."

But as love had now gained the ascendancy over Khojisteh, the sharuk's refusal threw her into a rage. Seizing the bird fast by both legs, she pulled her out of her cage and struck her against the ground with such violence that the soul took flight from the body, and she expired.

Then, full of wrath and indignation, she came to the parrot, to whom she represented all her own desires, with the particulars concerning the sharuk.

The parrot was endowed with understanding and thought to himself: "If I refuse my consent and raise objections like the sharuk, I shall also be murdered."

After making this reflection, he thus addressed himself to Khojisteh, in the softest tone imaginable: "The sharuk was a female, many of whom are deficient in wisdom, for which reason those who are wise themselves ought not to reveal their secrets to any of the sex. Be not now uneasy or unsettled in your mind for, as long as my soul continues in my body, I will exert my endeavours in this business of yours and will gratify your inclinations. God forbid it should actually so happen! but if this secret of yours should be divulged, and your husband hear of it, I will make peace and tranquillity between you and him, like the parrot of Ferukh Beg."

Khojisteh asked, "What is the story of the parrot of Ferukh Beg. Tell it at full length, and you will oblige me."

(600 words)

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