Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Week Five Reading Notes Part B - Tales of a Parrot

Source Story: Tales of a Parrot by Ziya'al-Din Nakhshabi (1801).

  • "Of a King and His Sons"
    • Again Khojisteh wishes to go to her lover, but the parrot keeps her from her adulterous act by distracting her with the story of a prince who walks past a snake that had just caught a frog. He saves the frog and gives a piece of his own flesh to the snake to eat instead. Both animals transform into men and ask to serve him. The prince enters the service of a king, and the snake and frog each perform a task for him which pleases the king, then they return to their own habitats.
  • "The Merchant Whose Daughter Was Lost"
    • Same thing. A merchant's beautiful daughter insists that she will only marry someone very wise or very skillful. Three men offer themselves up: one who can find anything that is lost and tell the future, one who can make a flying wooden horse, and one whose bow never misses. The girl is kidnapped by a fairy and each man puts his skill to use in saving her, but in the end the archer wins her hand because he is the one who risks his life to save her.
  • "Of a Brahmin Falling in Love"
    • Same thing. The story is of a brahmin who falls in love with the daughter of the king of Babylon. A magician disguises him as a woman and convinces the king to take "her" in to stay with his daughter. When the daughter realizes who he really is, they steal her father's riches and run away together, and the king never finds them.
  • "The Son of the King of Babylon"
    • Same thing. The son of the king of Babylon falls in love with a beautiful woman and promises an idol that he will cut off his head as a sacrifice if she will marry him. They do get married, so he goes back to the temple and cuts off his head. His brahmin comes in and sees him dead, and so cuts off his own head. The woman comes in and is about to cut her head off as well, but the idol tells her to reattach their heads to their bodies and they will live again. She accidentally puts the wrong heads on the wrong bodies, and the men argue about which one of them should be her husband. The parrot tells Khojisteh that the man with the head of the prince should get her because the head is the "seat of wisdom."
  • "The Merchant's Daughter"
    • Same thing. A merchant has a beautiful daughter whom he offers in marriage to the king. The king sends his viziers to see if she is beautiful enough for him to marry, and they lie to him, telling him she is unremarkable, because they worry that he would neglect his royal duties if he married someone so beautiful. So the girl is married to someone else, but the king happens upon her one day and falls in love with her. He accepts his advisers' reasoning, but when they tell him to demand that the woman's husband give her up to him, he refuses, choosing instead to die of lovesickness.
  • "The Nobleman With a Snake"
    • Same thing. A snake is being chased by a man who wants to kill it, so a nobleman allows the snake to hide in his sleeve. Once safe, the snake tells the man that he shouldn't have trusted a snake, and now he will kill the man before leaving. The man distracts the snake and kills it.
  • "The Soldier and the Goldsmith"
    • Same thing. A soldier entrusts a goldsmith with some money, but the goldsmith hides it and pretends the soldier never gave it to him. The Cazy hides two people in the goldsmith's house, and they overhear him confide to his wife about stealing the money and where he hid it. The soldier gets his money back and the goldsmith is hanged.
  • "Of the Merchant and the Barber"
    • Same thing. When a rich merchant gives away everything he has in charity, he is blessed with a dream saying that a brahmin will arrive and, if he hits the brahmin on the head with a stick, the brahmin will turn into infinitely regenerating gold. He does this, but his barber witnesses it and starts hitting a bunch of brahmins on their heads with a stick, thinking they'll turn into gold. The merchant is called before the judge after the barber tells his story, but they believe the merchant, who says the barber has gone crazy.
  • "The Frog, the Bee, and the Bird"
    • Same thing. An elephant knocks a bird's eggs out of her nest while scratching himself on the tree, so she joins together with a long-billed bird, a bee, and a frog, and they together manage to kill the elephant. They do so by having the bee buzz in his ears to distract him will the long-billed bird plucks out his eyes, then the frog leads him blindly into a place he can't escape from, where he dies of hunger and thirst.
  • "The Elk and the Ass"
    • Same thing. A donkey and an elk are friends, and they sneak into a garden to graze at night. The donkey wants to sing, but the elk warns him that his braying will wake up the gardener, who will catch them both and make them prisoners. The donkey sings anyway, and the gardener wakes up and takes them prisoner.
  • "A King Falls in Love and the End of Khojisteh"
    • Again the parrot distracts Khojisteh from going to her lover by telling the story of a king who pillages Rome to gain the marriage of the Roman Emperor's daughter, whose father forbids her to tell her new husband that she leaves behind a son from a previous marriage. She misses her son, though, so tricks the king into bringing him there, but the king suspects that the boy is her lover, and has him killed (but the murderer hides the boy instead of killing him). An old woman helps the wife tell the story truthfully but blamelessly to the king, who is delighted to hear that his wife has been faithful and that her son is still alive. After this story, Miemun returns and the parrot tells him that Khojisteh has fallen in love with someone else and has killed the other bird. Miemun kills Khojisteh, the end.
"Parrot Addressing Khojasta" by Akbar 

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