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A certain man had a beautiful wife, whom he loved so dearly, that he could scarcely allow her to be out of his sight. One day, some urgent affairs obliging him to go from home, he went to a place where all sorts of birds were sold, and bought a parrot, which not only spoke well, but could also give an account of every thing that was done in its presence. He brought it in a cage to his house, desired his wife to put it in his chamber, and take care of it during his absence, and then departed.
On his return, he questioned the parrot concerning what had passed while he was from home, and the bird told him such things as gave him occasion to upbraid his wife. She concluded some of her slaves had betrayed her, but all of them swore they had been faithful, and agreed that the parrot must have been the tell- tale.
Upon this, the wife began to devise how she might remove her husband's jealousy, and at the same time revenge herself on the parrot. Her husband being gone another journey, she commanded a slave in the night-time to turn a hand-mill under the parrot's cage; she ordered another to sprinkle water, in resemblance of rain, over the cage; and a third to move a looking-glass, backward and forward against a candle, before the parrot. The slaves spent a great part of the night in doing what their mistress desired them, and acquitted themselves with much skill.
Next night the husband returned, and examined the parrot again about what had passed during his absence. The bird answered, "Good master, the lightning, thunder, and rain so much disturbed me all night, that I cannot tell how much I suffered." The husband, who knew that there had been neither thunder, lightning, nor rain in the night, fancied that the parrot, not having spoken truth in this, might also have lied in the other relation; upon which he took it out of the cage, and threw it with so much force to the ground that he killed it. Yet afterwards he understood from his neigbours, that the poor parrot had not deceived him in what it had stated of his wife's base conduct, made him repent that he had killed it.
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Scott, Jonathan (1754-1829). The Arabian Nights Entertainments. London: Pickering and Chatto, 1890. 4 Volumes. Project Gutenberg.
1001 Nights Hypertext. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. The texts presented here are in the public domain. Thanks to Gene Perry for his excellent help in preparing the texts for the web. Page last updated: January 1, 2005 10:46 PM