The Woman who by a Stratagem escaped out of the Lion's Clutches.

WHEN the sun sunk down in the west, and the moon got up in the east, Khojisteh went to the par­rot to ask leave, and said, “Ah, thou preserver of my secret! take pity on me, quickly give me permis-sion; and whatever you may have to say, deliver it hastily.” The parrot replied, “My mistress, I have repeatedly put you to the proof, but have always found you wise; you need not my advice: how-ever, if, peradventure, any accident should befall you, play off a stratagem, like the woman in the desert, who, by practising artifice with a lion, did not suffer any injury.” Khojisteh asked, “What kind of story is that?”

The parrot began, saying, “In a certain city lived a man who had a very ill-natured wife, a great scold. One day, having chastised her for some fault, she, with two infants, took the road to the desert. It happened that the woman saw a lion; and, being terrified, said to herself, I have acted very ill in coming abroad without having the consent of my husband: if no calamity befalls me from this lion, I will return home and be obedient to him. In short, the woman formed her plan, and said to the lion, Come near and listen to my words. The lion was astonished, and said, Speak! what have you to say? The woman said, In this desert is a mighty lion, the terror of every man and beast; the king sends three or four men for his daily subsistence: to-day the lot has fallen on myself and these two infants: take my children and devour them, and then escape from this desert; I also, being alone and unencum-bered, may then run away. The lion replied, Well, now you have told me all your own circum-stances: it would answer no purpose for me to de-vour either you or your children; because I have no place of retreat. In short, the lion went to ano-ther part of the desert; and the woman took the road to her own city, and, during the remainder of her life, was obedient to her husband.”

The parrot, having finished the story, said to Kho-jisteh, “Arise, my mistress, delay not, go to your lover.” Khojisteh got up, and made an effort to go. At the instant the cock crowed, and morning appearing, her departure was deferred.