The Arabian Nights Entertainments
The Story of the Husband and the
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