How the Son of the King of Babylon fell in love with a young woman.

WHEN the sun descended in the west, and the moon arose in the east, Khojisteh went to the par­rot to ask leave, and said, “Whenever I may go to my lover, I wish first to make trial of his under-standing. If I discover him to be wise, I will strengthen my friendship with him: otherwise I will exercise patience; for the sages have said, that in friendship three things ought not to be trusted: first, friendship with women; secondly, having intimacy or associating with children; and thirdly, the company of blockheads.” The parrot re­plied, “My mistress, whatever you say is proper: to-night you must tell a tale to your lover, and require of him an answer; which if he gives properly, you may account him wise; but if he returns an improper answer, rest assured he is de-ficient in understanding.” Khojisteh asked, “What tale is it on which I am to question him?”

The parrot began: “Once on a time, the son of the king of Babylon, happening to enter an idol temple, there beheld a young woman, the bright-ness of whose countenance resembled the moon, as did her jetty locks the darkest night; her sta-ture was as erect as the cypress, and her walk graceful as the pheasant: he was instantly smit-ten with her charms; and, laying his head at the feet of the principal idol in the temple, in a plain-tive and feeble tone thus expressed himself, If that young woman should marry me, I will sever my head from my body, and sacrifice it to you. In short, the king's son sent a message to the girl's father, and asked her in marriage. Her father gave his consent, and the marriage was performed agreeably to the rites and ceremonies of their respective tribes. In short, the lovers were united. After some days, the father invited his daughter and son-in-law to his own house. The king's son, with his wife, set out for the father-in-law's house; and a brahmin who had been the intimate companion of the king's son, also accompanied them. When the prince approached the temple where he had first seen his wife, he recollected the vow he had made to the idol of the place. He went alone into the temple, in order to perform his vow, and, cutting off his own head, dropped it at the feet of the image. Afterwards, when the brahmin also entered the temple, he saw the prince lying dead, and was terrified: he thought, if I remain alone, people will suppose me to have been his murderer. When many such reflections had passed in his mind, he said, It will be best for me to cut off my own head, and leave it also at the feet of the idol. Then the brahmin cut off his own head, and dropped down at the feet of the image. A minute after, the wife also came into the temple, and seeing both persons slain, was astonished, not being able to account for what had happened. She resolved to sever her own head from her body, and to burn with her husband. At that interval a voice issued from the temple, O woman! replace the severed heads on their re-spective trunks, when they will be alive again. The woman was so overjoyed on hearing these words, that, in her hurry, she placed her husband's head on the brahmin's body, and put the brahmin's head upon her husband's shoulders, and instantly they were both restored to life and stood before the woman. Then began a dispute between the prince's body and the brahmin's head, each claim-ing her for his wife.”

When the parrot had related thus far of the story, he said to Khojisteh, “If you want to try his under-standing, ask him, which had a right to the wife, the husband's head, or the husband's body?”— Khojisteh requested the parrot to instruct her on this point? The parrot replied, “The rightful owner of that woman is the husband's head, be-cause the head is the seat of wisdom, and presides over the body.” When Khojisteh had heard the end of the story, she stood up, with intention to go to her lover: instantly the cock crowed, and dawn appearing, her departure was delayed.