A Rough Translation of a Sanskrit Translation of a Story from the Thousand and One Nights

Here’s a selection from Kalyāṇa Malla’s Sulaimaccarita, produced in 15th c. Awadh.  The story might be familiar for those of you who have read the story of the Jinn and the Fisherman in the Thousand and One Nights

Long ago, there lived a righteous merchant named Dhanada, generous, and intent upon the values of his own family.  A certain sailor brought a miraculous parrot, five-colored and vivacious, from the islands and gave to him.  Taking him, the merchant deposited him into a fantastic golden cage, studded with gems, and nourished him as if he were a devoted son, possessed of all virtues, with various fruits and sugar lumps from sugarcane.  Skilled in every language and proficient in every type of knowledge, the parrot grew and grew, delighting his keeper.  His wife, wide-eyed, was unparalleled in beauty on the earth.  Rejecting her husband (vibhu) constantly, she became the mistress of others.  Constantly waiting outside the door for her lovers, when her husband went to the shop, she smeared a mixture of saffron and sandal a paste of musk on her breasts and went forth to her tryst.  […]

The parrot observed the wife living like so for days and days and became angry with her.  As he made known he was leaving the house, the [parrot] announced what he had seen earlier:  “O king, your wife is an unchaste woman, a [mere] store of flattery.  Day by day she enjoys herself with other men, meeting them joyfully.  Whatever excellent young man she sees, when he presents himself in front [of her], him she embraces, gives sexual pleasure joyfully, then sends on his way again.”

She plotted in her heart with her conspiring friends to kill the parrot who thus was constantly making known the daily events within the household.  Once the best of merchants heard the words [of the parrot] considering them true, he beat his wife with scoldings and lashings again and again.

Thus chastized, his wife was enraged, and perceiving a means [toward revenge] she placed chick-peas on a stone near the parrot’s cage and ground them with a loud sound.  From above there was a sprinkling of water on the body of the parrot.  In the darkness having lit a lamp she caused it to move [in front of him].  The parrot thought it was the thundering of the clouds reverberating with thunderbolts; he considered the falling of drops of water to be rain; he thought the quick flashes (paribhramaṇa) in the mirror near the lamp to be lightning.  Then he said respectfully to the merchant when he came,  “During the night, where were you? Were you not tormented by the rain?”

As soon as he had said “ There was so much rain last night!” [the merchant] said to the bird:  “Parrot, what’s this rain falling in the night?  Tell me, right away! Today you have become a liar—your speech has been found out!  Just so you must have spoken previously too, alas, always about my wife!”

Once he spoke thus, the merchant, the ends of his eyes reddened with anger, then, seizing a stick, struck the parrot in a rage.  After he killed the parrot without reflection, he saw the behavior of his wife, and afterwards, tortured, the merchant always lamenting, remembered the parrot, and was killed by regret (cintā).  So to will happen to you, o king…

purā viśalānagare dhanado nāma dhārmikaḥ  |  vaiśyo’vasad badhudhanī svakulācāratatparaḥ  ||4.89||  tasya* kaścic chukaṃ divyaṃ pañcavarṇaṃ mahaujasam  |  nāvikaḥ samupānīya dattavān dvīpasambhavam  ||4.90||  taṃ gṛhītvā vaṇig divye kāñcane ratnamaṇḍite  |  pañjare nyasya vividhaiḥ phalaiḥ puṇḍrekṣujair guḍaiḥ  ||4.91||  pupoṣa nirataṃ putram iva sarvaguṇānvitam  |  sarvabhāṣāsu nipuṇaḥ sarvavidyāviśāradaḥ  ||4.92||  vivardhata śukaḥ prītiṃ janayan pālakasya saḥ  |  tasya bhāryā viśālākṣī rūpeṇāpratimā bhuvi  ||4.93||  vibhuṃ nirasya satataṃ parakīyā babhūva ha  |  bahir dvāre sadā sthitvā kāminaḥ saṃpratīkṣatī*  ||4.94||  vipaṇiṃ gatavati nāthe vividhālaṃkārasaṃkumuda*paṅkam  |  kuṃkumacandanamiśraṃ liptvā kucayoḥ prayāti saṃketam  ||4.95||  madanabhūtaparājitamānasā vadarājitamauktikacitrakā  |  sadanamāgatakāmukamaṇḍalīhṛdayarañjanam ācaratī* babhau  ||4.96|| […]  evaṃ vasantīṃ gṛhiṇīṃ dine dine vilokya kīraḥ pracukopa tāṃ prati  |  gṛhāgatāyāśu nivedayad* yathā tathā purā dṛṣṭam upetya so viśe  ||4.98||  taveyaṃ gṛhiṇī deva kulaṭā caṭulāśayā  |  ahardivaṃ paraiḥ puṃbhī ramate militā mudā  ||4.99||  yaṃ yaṃ paśyati puruṣaṃ taruṇaṃ śaraṇāgataṃ paraṃ purataḥ  |  taṃ taṃ parirabhya mudā datvā rataṃ punaḥ preṣayati  ||4.100||  evaṃ pratyaham antargṛhavṛttaṃ bodhayantam anuvelam  |  hantuṃ śukam ātmani sā cintām akarot sakhībhir anvartham  ||4.101||  śrutvā śukavacaḥ satyaṃ manvāno vaiśyasattamaḥ  |  dārān santāḍayām āsa tarjanair marjanair muhuḥ  ||4.102||  evaṃ santarjitā tasya gṛhiṇī krodhasaṃyutā  |  upāyaṃ kañcid ālocya śukapañjarasannidhau  ||4.103||  caṇakān upale kṣiptvā pipeṣa dhvanim udvaman*  |  upariṣṭāc chukasyāṅge vavarṣodakavipruṣaḥ  ||4.104||  timire dīpam uddīpya darpaṇaṃ bhrāmayat*puraḥ  |  śilācakradhvaniṃ megharāvaṃ mene śukas tadā  ||4.105||  ambhaḥ pṛṣatkapatanaṃ varṣodakam amanyata  |  dīpāntikādarśaparibhramaṇaṃ vidyud ity ayam  ||4.106||  mene tataḥ samāyātaṃ vaiśyam āha sa sādaram  |  niśāyāṃ kva sthito ’si vṛṣṭyā kiṃ nu na cārditaḥ  ||4.107||  rātryāṃ vṛṣṭir mahaty āsīd ity uktaḥ prāha* taṃ khagam  |  kva vṛṣṭiḥ patitā rātryāṃ śuka tūṣṇīṃ* bravīṣi mām  ||4.108||  mṛṣāvādī bhavān adya vijñātaṃ bhāṣitaṃ tava  |  evam eva purāpi tvam uktavān ayi nityaśaḥ  ||4.109||  majjāyāṃ praty apīty uktvā krodharaktāntalocanaḥ  |  jaghāna daṇḍam ādāya śukaṃ kopād athorujaḥ  ||4.110||  avicārya śukaṃ hatvā dṛṣṭvā ca gṛhiṇīgatim  |  paścat tāpasamāyuktaḥ śukam smṛtvā rudan sadā  ||4.111||  mamāra cintayā vaiśyas tathā tvam api bhūpatiḥ

 

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