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Arabian Nights Stories-3

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Story No 60

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60 - Tale of the Water-Fowl and the Tortoise

Shaharzaad said - "O King, This story has been told by truthful people, that a bird and a water-fowl, flew high in the sky and perched on a rock in the midst of running water. As he sat over it, the current of the water carried a skeleton of a man to him. The fowl examined it and found that it was a body of a human being and stuck on the rock. He saw a sign of spear and a sign of a sword on his body. He thought that maybe this man was an evildoer and that is why some people put him to death and now they were at peace.

As he was thinking thus, that a vulture and some other big birds came down on him. Seeing them coming the fowl thought that he could no longer stay there, so he flew from there to a place from where he could see what was happening. So he came to a river with a tree in the midst of it. He perched on that tree and was sad to leave his birthplace. He thought that sorrows are following me continuously. First I saw the body, I thought I could eat it, but then those big birds came to eat it. Then I had to leave my native place and come here in a strange place. How can I save myself from this misfortune?

As he was thinking thus, a male tortoise descended in the river and approaching the fowl, greeted him - "O Lord, What has brought you here in this far place?" The fowl replied - "Some enemies came there and the wise say that one should not live where one's enemies live." The tortoise said - "If this is so, then I will not leave you alone in any way and I will be standing all the time before you, so that I am always there if you need me anytime. I hope that you will approve my company because I will be your servant. Don't be sad because it spoils the life." And the two talked for a while until the fowl said - "I always fear the shifting of Time."

The tortoise came near him, kissed him between his eyes and said to him - "The birds will always be finding wisdom in your words." He went on comforting the fowl till he was reassured that the fowl felt safe there. Then the fowl flew to the place where he came from and found that those big birds were gone, they had eaten everything from the human body and only his bones remained. He came back to the tortoise and told him that the enemies had gone from there and now he wanted to return to his home to be with his own people.

So they both went there and found no fear so they started living on that island happily. When they were enjoying life there, suddenly a hungry falcon hit the fowl's belly and killed him. Now the cause of his death was the neglect of formula of praise. It is said that his form of adoration was as follows - "Praised be Lord that He orders and ordains,  and praise be Lord who enriches and impoverish." This was the end of the water-fowl."

End of Story No 60



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