Of a King and His Sons, and of a Frog and a Snake
The parrot said, "Alas, my mistress! My heart at this instant bears witness that I will quickly unite you with your friend, but if you get to your lover, perform all the conditions which friendship requires, neglecting not an item — just as Khaliss and Mukhless served the king's son in exact conformity to the duties of friendship."
Khojisteh asked, "What is the nature of this story?"
The parrot began, saying,
Once on a time, there was a mighty monarch who had two sons, and when he departed from this world, the eldest son assumed his crown and throne and wanted to kill his younger brother, who, having no resource, quitted the city and kingdom, unattended.
One day he came to the side of a pond where a snake had seized a frog who was crying out. The prince called out to the snake, who thereupon quitted his hold; the frog jumped into the water, and the snake remained. The prince was ashamed, in that he had taken the food out of the snake's mouth.
In short, he cut a piece of flesh from his own body and flung it to the snake, who went to his female with the flesh in his mouth.
The female, on tasting it, said to the male, "From whence did you bring this savoury meat?"
The snake told her all the circumstances.
The female said, "You ought to shew your gratitude to the person who did you such kindness."
The snake, having transformed himself into the shape of a man, waited on the prince, and said, "My name is Khaliss (or sincere); I want to engage in your service."
The prince assented.
When the frog leaped from the jaws of the snake, stained with blood, he went to his female and told her all the circumstances.
The female said to him, "Go now, and be ready to do a service to that person."
The frog, also having assumed the human form, came to the prince, and said, "My name is Mukhless (or candid); I wish to serve you, like the rest of your slaves."
The prince entertained him also in his service. These three men departed thence and came to a city wherein was a king to whom the prince went and said, "I am so valiant that alone I am able to fight against an hundred men; if you will pay me one thousand rupees daily, I will enter into your service, and whatever business you shall command me to perform, I will always accomplish."
The king took him into his service and ordered him one thousand rupees daily allowance. The prince received one thousand rupees every day, one hundred of which sufficed for his own expences, two hundred he divided between his companions, and the remainder he bestowed in charity.
One day the king went to enjoy the sport of fishing: it happened that the king's ring fell into the river and, notwithstanding all the search that was made after it, could not be recovered. He said to the prince, "Fetch my ring out of the river."
The prince conversed with his companions, who asked, "What kind of business is this which the king has commanded you to perform?"
Mukhless said. "Make your mind easy; I will execute this business."
Mukhless, accordingly, having assumed the form of a frog, plunged into the river and instantly brought out the ring. The prince presented the ring to his majesty, who increased his kindness towards him.
Some days after, the king's daughter being bit by a snake, all the remedies applied by the physicians produced no effect. The king commanded the prince to cure his daughter. The prince was pensive and said to himself, "This is not my business."
Khaliss said, "Convey me to the lady and place her in a retired situation; I will cure her."
He did so. Khaliss applied his own mouth to the wound which the snake had made and sucked out all the poison, when the princess instantly obtained relief. The king was highly delighted and bestowed his daughter in marriage on the prince, whom he made his lieutenant.
Khaliss and Mukhless both said, "We now want leave to depart."
The prince observed, "What a time is this for taking leave!"
Khaliss said, "I am that snake to whom you gave your own flesh."
Mukhless said, "I am the very frog whom you delivered from the mouth of the snake; we now wish to return to our own habitations."
The prince took leave of them both.
The parrot, having finished the tale, said to Khojisteh, "Go now; delay not."
Khojlsteh arose in order to have gone; immediately, the cock crowed, and her departure was deferred.