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    7- The Husband and the Parrot

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    Chapter 8
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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-

    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.

    When the Grecian king had finished the story of the parrot, he
    added, "And you, vizier, because of the hatred you bear to the
    physician Douban, who never did you any injury, you would have me
    cut him off; but I will beware lest I should repent as the
    husband did after killing his parrot."

    The mischievous vizier was too desirous of effecting the ruin of
    the physician Douban to stop here. "Sir," said he, "the death of
    the parrot was but a trifle, and I believe his master did not
    mourn for him long: but why should your fear of wronging an
    innocent man, hinder your putting this physician to death? Is it
    not sufficient justification that he is accused of a design
    against your life? When the business in question is to secure the
    life of a king, bare suspicion ought to pass for certainty; and
    it is better to sacrifice the innocent than to spare the guilty.
    But, Sir, this is not a doubtful case; the physician Douban has
    certainly a mind to assassinate you. It is not envy which makes
    me his enemy; it is only my zeal, with the concern I have for
    preserving your majesty's life, that makes me give you my advice
    in a matter of this importance. If the accusation be false, I
    deserve to be punished in the same manner as a vizier formerly
    was." "What had the vizier done," demands the Grecian king, "to
    deserve punishment?" "I will inform your majesty," said the
    vizier, "if you will be pleased to hear me."
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