Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tales of a Parrot: The Soldier and the Goldsmith

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 Soldier and the Goldsmith, the Latter of whom Lost his Life from the Love of Money

When the sun sunk into the western quarter and it was evening, the stars appeared. Khojisteh ate some fruit; she combed her hair and, having applied collyrium to her eyes, put on fine apparel and bedecked her ears and neck with gold and jewels, and then went to the parrot to ask leave, saying, "O thou possessor of my secret, make a sign for me to go!"

The parrot said, "Keep in remembrance a maxim of mine: Not to tell one's secret to anyone; otherwise, it will be discovered — just as the goldsmith's secret was found out." 

Khojisteh asked, "What is his story?"

The parrot began:

In a certain city was a wealthy goldsmith. A soldier thought him his friend and believed him sincerely attached to his interest.


One day, the soldier found on the road a purse full of money and, having opened it, counted two hundred and fifty gold mohurs. The soldier carried the mohurs to the goldsmith and, rejoicing, said, "I am very fortunate that, without labour, I have found this sum of money on the highway."

He then gave all the money in charge to the goldsmith.

Some days after, the soldier wanted his own money. The goldsmith said, "You tell a falsehood; when did you entrust your money to me? I imagined you my friend, not knowing you to be such an enemy; you want to get money by fraud."

The soldier, having no alternative, went to the Cazy, who asked him, "Have you any person as a witness?"

He answered, "No."

The Cazy thought to himself: "Goldsmiths are a faithless set of people and thieves, so that it is not at all improbable but he may have stolen the money."

In short, the Cazy sent for the goldsmith and his wife, but to all his interrogations they would not confess.

The Cazy said to them, "I know very well that you have taken the money; if you do not restore it, I will send you to hell."

Then the Cazy entered the house and concealed two persons in a chest placed in one of the chambers. After so doing, he came out and again said to the goldsmith, "If you do not consent to restore his money, tomorrow I will put you to death."

He then gave orders that the goldsmith and his wife should be shut up together in that chamber. At midnight the woman said to the goldsmith, "If you did take this money, tell me where you have put it."

The goldsmith said, "In such a place, I put it into the ground."

In short, when the night was ended and the sun rose, the Cazy sent for the goldsmith and his wife and, confronting them with the two persons who had been in the chest, asked the latter what conversation the goldsmith had with his wife the preceding night.

They related to the Cazy whatever they had heard. The Cazy sent his own men to the goldsmith's house and described the spot where the purse of money had been put, and, on digging up the ground, they found it and brought it to the Cazy. He restored the purse to the soldier and hanged the goldsmith on a gibbet.

The parrot, having finished this story, said to Khojisteh, "If the goldsmith had not told the secret to his own wife, it would not have been discovered. Now arise and go to your lover."

Khojisteh stood up; instantly, the cock crowed and, the dawn appearing, her departure was deferred.



(600 words)





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