Monday, 14 June 2010

Longing for the Beloved

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In the city of Yazd, located in the center of Persia, by the great desert of Lut, lived a silk merchant, who was also a hunter with an unbounded thirst for adventure.

On one of his trips to India, he went to a forest to capture canaries, blue jays, and all kinds of parrots.  One hot summer, when it had not rained for three months, bird hunters set traps all over the forest, and under the traps, they put small pots of water.

There were two parrots that sat high on a branch and watched the entourage of hunters passing below.  The parrots listened to the hunters and repeated their words.  Because they loudly repeated the hunters’ words from high up in the branches, all of the other birds flew away.  The silk merchant noticed the pair of parrots and set an elaborate net, with water and nuts under it, and he hid in the bushes.  Both parrots flew towards the trap.  The female parrot was very cautions, hopping slowly along the trap, inspecting its surroundings, but the male parrot moved rapidly towards the water and the nuts.  As soon as he was under the trap, the trap door closed with a loud noise.  The female parrot flew away and then sat on a high branch and wailed in a melancholy voice.

The silk merchant brought his prize parrot to Yazd.  He made an elaborate cage for his parrot and hung the cage in his office.  Every morning, while drinking his tea, he talked to his parrot for hours, telling the parrot his problems.  A year went by.  When he was about to leave for India, he asked his parrot if he wanted anything from India.  On the day of his departure, the parrot said, “Just go to the same spot where you caught me, and tell my beloved how well you are treating me.  Tell her that I am in a beautiful cage and have all kinds of nuts, and ask her if she wants to come and spend her life with me in my beautiful home.”

The silk merchant was delighted with his parrot’s request and agreed to grant the request.  When he was in India, he went to the forest where he had captured his parrot.  He sat there until he heard the female parrot calling to him.

She asked, “Do you have any news of my beloved?”

“Yes,” the merchant answered, “I have a message for you.”

“Tell me, is my beloved well?”

“Yes, of course.  He told me to tell you about his beautiful cage and about all the nuts he has to eat; also, he wants you to come with me to live with him.”

Hearing this, the parrot fell from the branch, right in front of him, her wings separated, as if she died instantly.

The merchant left in bewilderment.  When he got to Yazd, his parrot asked him if he visited the forest and why he had not brought his lover with him.

As soon as he told him what had happened, the parrot fell to the floor of his cage and his wings separated, as though he had instantly died.  The merchant took his parrot out of cage, put it on the ground, covered his face with his hands, and wept.  When he next looked at his parrot, before he had a chance to say anything, the parrot flew away, headed towards India.


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