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Arabian Nights Stories-3

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Story No 59

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59 - Tale of the Hedgehog and the Wood-pigeons

Once a hedgehog came to live near date-palm tree, while a wood-pigeon lived on that tree with his wife. The hedgehog thought this pigeon pair eats the fruit of this tree, and I have no means to get the fruits, so I should find some way to trick them. So he dug a hole near the date-palm tree and made it his home with his wife. He made a separate place for his prayers also and went there to show the world that he was a great worshipper. The male pigeon saw him praying, and his heart became soft for him. He said to him - "For how many years have you been like this?" The hedgehog said - "It is about 30 years." "What do you eat?" "That which falls from this palm tree." "And what is your clothing?" "Prickles, and I am benefited by those." "And why have you chosen this place instead of any other place?" "So that I can teach the ignorant and correct those making mistakes."

The wood-pigeon said - "I fancy your case, but now I want to know about your partner." The hedgehog said - "I fear, lest your words contradict your action; and you become like the herdsman who in season neglected to sow saying - "I fear, that my sowing will not bring fruit according to my expectations, and by making haste to sow seeds, I will only waste my efforts." When the harvest time came he saw people taking their crops, he repented for his action so much that he died."

The wood-pigeon said - "Then what shall I do that I may be freed from the bondage of the world?" The hedgehog said - "Prepare yourself for the next world and be contented with only very small amount of food." The pigeon asked - "How can I do this? I am a bird and unable to go beyond this palm tree where I can find my daily bread. And even if I do so, I do not know any other place where I can go." Said the hedgehog - "You can shake down the tree so that many fruits will fall down, those fruits will be enough for you and your wife. Then live in a nest under the trunk so that you can live there peacefully. Take all the fruits fallen from the tree, store in your house to eat when the fruits do not fall. And observe total abstinence."

The pigeon said - "May Allaah bless you for guiding me." Then he and his wife tried hard to shake the palm tree till all fruits fell down, while the hedgehog enjoyed the fruits and filled his den with the fruit, thinking, "Whenever the pigeon will need the fruit, he will ask me to give them to him. They will have to depend on me only for their food. Then I will prey on them and eat them and then all dates will be mine only."

After shaking the tree, when the pigeon came down to collect the fruits, he saw that the hedgehog had removed all the fruits to his home, so he said to the hedgehog - "We don't find any fruits on the ground and we don't know what we shall eat now." The hedgehog said - "Maybe the wind has carried them away, but take off your mind from the provision and meditate on Him, that is the way for salvation." He preached them till they had faith in him. Then he jumped into his den. Seeing him like this, the pigeon said - "What has tonight to do with yester-night? You should know that there is a helper to oppressed people. Beware of craft and treachery, lest their results fall upon you, as that fell upon the people who plotted against the merchant." "What was that?"

The pigeon said - "There was a city called Sindh and there lived a very wealthy merchant. Once he loaded his camel and set out for his journey to sell his merchandise there. There were two cheaters watching this, so they followed him guising themselves as if they were merchants. They halted with the merchant at his first halting place, they decided to play him false and and take everything he had. But at the same time they planned individually also against each other that if he could cheat his comrade he would have all goods of the merchant.

After planning this, one of them took food, poisoned it, and brought it to his fellow; the other did the same, and they both died by eating the poisoned food. Now they both had been sitting with the merchant, so when they had been long absent and did not return, he looked for them and found them dead. He knew that they were plotters and were the victims of their own plots."

It seems that this story is incomplete



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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 07/12/14