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The Story of the Husband and the Parrot

  • A good man had a beautiful wife, whom he loved passionately, and never left if
  • possible. One day, when he was obliged by important business to go away from
  • her, he went to a place where all kinds of birds are sold and bought a parrot.
  • This parrot not only spoke well, but it had the gift of telling all that had
  • been done before it. He brought it home in a cage, and asked his wife to put
  • it in her room, and take great care of it while he was away. Then he departed.
  • On his return he asked the parrot what had happened during his absence, and
  • the parrot told him some things which made him scold his wife.
  • She thought that one of her slaves must have been telling tales of her, but
  • they told her it was the parrot, and she resolved to revenge herself on him.
  • When her husband next went away for one day, she told on slave to turn under
  • the bird's cage a hand-mill; another to throw water down from above the cage,
  • and a third to take a mirror and turn it in front of its eyes, from left to
  • right by the light of a candle. The slaves did this for part of the night, and
  • did it very well.
  • The next day when the husband came back he asked the parrot what he had seen.
  • The bird replied, "My good master, the lightning, thunder and rain disturbed
  • me so much all night long, that I cannot tell you what I have suffered."
  • The husband, who knew that it had neither rained nor thundered in the night,
  • was convinced that the parrot was not speaking the truth, so he took him out
  • of the cage and threw him so roughly on the ground that he killed him.
  • Nevertheless he was sorry afterwards, for he found that the parrot had spoken
  • the truth.
  • "When the Greek king," said the fisherman to the genius, "had finished the
  • story of the parrot, he added to the vizir, "And so, vizir, I shall not listen
  • to you, and I shall take care of the physician, in case I repent as the
  • husband did when he had killed the parrot." But the vizir was determined.
  • "Sire," he replied, "the death of the parrot was nothing. But when it is a
  • question of the life of a king it is better to sacrifice the innocent than
  • save the guilty. It is no uncertain thing, however. The physician, Douban,
  • wishes to assassinate you. My zeal prompts me to disclose this to your
  • Majesty. If I am wrong, I deserve to be punished as a vizir was once
  • punished." "What had the vizir done," said the Greek king, "to merit the
  • punishment?" "I will tell your Majesty, if you will do me the honour to
  • listen," answered the vizir."