Tales of a Parrot: The Merchant and His Wife

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).

The Merchant, and His Wife, who Outwitted Him

When the sun sunk into the west and, it being night, the moon ascended from the east, Khojisteh, with a sad and aching heart, got up and went to the parrot in quest of leave.

The parrot, observing Khojisteh pensive, asked why she was thoughtful.

Khqjisteh answered, "Because I come to you every night and disclose to you my sorrow; when, then, will be the time that I shall meet my lover? If you give me leave this night, I shall go; otherwise, I wilt exercise patience and sit at home."

The parrot answered, "You listen to my stories every night and continue here till morning. I want you to go quickly this night. If it should happen that your husband arrives and meets you anywhere, follow the example of the merchant's wife and scold him."

Khojisteh asked, "What, and how is the story of the merchant's wife? Tell me."

The parrot began, saying, 

In a certain city was a rich merchant who had a handsome wife. Once on a time this merchant travelled to another country in order to trade. During his absence, the wife frequented strange companies, and sang, and danced. After having been absent some time, the merchant arrived in his own city when, being night, he could not enter his own house; he took up his lodging in some other place and, having sent for a procuress, desired her to bring a fine elegant woman to pass the night with him.

It chanced that the procuress went to the merchant's wife and said, "A rich man, who is arrived from such a city, wants a woman; arise, and go to him."

The woman adorned herself with jewels and fine clothes, went to him and, as soon as she saw him, knew it was her husband; immediately she began crying out, "O neighbours, listen to my complaint! Six years having elapsed since this husband of mine went abroad to trade, I have looked for his return every day and night. He has been returned from his journey some days and taken up his lodging in this place, without thinking of me. Having been informed of this tonight, I am come myself; if you will do justice in this business, it is well; otherwise, I will go to the Cazy and separate myself from my husband."

The neighbours flocked together and made peace between her and the merchant. In short, the woman, by the force of scolding, came to her own terms with her husband, without suffering any disgrace."

The parrot, having finished this tale of the merchant, said to Khojisteh, "Now arise, and go your way to your lover, and make no delay."

Khojisteh stood up to have done so; the cock crowed, morning appeared, her visit was deferred.

(500 words)

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