Longing for Beloved

Dr Ali Keyhani

 

In the city of Yazd , located in the center of Iran , by the great desert of Lut , a master of a village lived with two hundred peasants. He was an inquisitive man who had an unbounded thirst for knowledge and adventure. One day as he was strolling about his ranch, he saw a peasant boy who had a large worm with many tiny legs, crawling in a box.

“Why are you keeping this worm?” he asked.

“This is a silk worm,” the boy responded.

“What do you feed to your silk worm?”

“I feed it fresh mulberry leaves.”

“How do you get silk out of a worm?”

The boy felt elated that the master was interested in his silk worm. He became animated and explained: “ In one week, the silk worm will make a cocoon around itself and will make either white or yellow silk to cover its body,” 

“What happens next?” the master asked.

“The cocoon grows into a ball of silk. Do you want to see them? I have two more silk worms in my house. Do you want me to run and get them?” the boy asked.

“Sure,” the master said.

The boy ran to his house and came back with two boxes. In one box, he had a large yellow ball of golden silk; in the other box he had another large ball of snow-white silk. The master peered into the boxes and he asked:

“Are the worms dead?”

“No,” the boy said. “At any minute, these balls of silk will burst open and a beautiful butterfly will come out.”

As they were watching the balls of silk, slowly a speck of life emerged from each ball. First the golden yellow silk cocoon burst open and an exquisite butterfly with white and black wings crawled out of the box. A moment later, it hopped to the side of the box, spread its wings and gracefully flew away. As they watched the butterfly flap its wings, another one emerged from the white silk cocoon. This one had golden yellow wings and before they had a chance to move their eyes away from the first butterfly, it took off after the other butterfly.

When the master went home, he ordered all peasants living in his land to plant mulberry trees to make silk for him. From then on he became known as the silk merchant of Yazd .  He made silk yarns and exported them to India .

 

On his trip to India , after he sold his silk yarns, he went to a forest to capture canaries, blue jays and all kinds of parrots. One hot summer it didn’t rain for three months. The bird hunters set traps all over the forest. Under the traps they put a small pot of water. There were two parrots that sat high on a branch and watched the entourage of hunters passing below.  The parrots listened to them and repeated their words. Because they loudly repeated the hunters’ words from high up in branches, all the other birds flew away. The silk merchant noticed the pair. He set an elaborate net, with water and nuts under it and hid in the bushes. Both parrots flew toward the trap. The female parrot was very cautious, hopping slowly along the trap inspecting its surroundings. The male parrot moved rapidly toward the water and nuts. As soon as he was under the trap, the trap door closed with a loud noise. The female parrot flew away and then sat on a high branch and wailed in a melancholy voice.

 The silk merchant brought his prize parrot to Yazd . He made an elaborate cage for his parrot and hung the cage in his office. Ever morning, while drinking his tea, he talked to his parrot for hours, telling the parrot his problems.

 

A year went by. When he was about to leave for India , he asked his parrot if he wanted anything from India . On the day he was about to leave for India , his parrot asked him if he would take a message to the forest where he captured him. The silk merchant agreed.

The parrot said: “Just go to the same spot, and tell my beloved how nice you are treating me. Tell her that I am in a beautiful cage, have all kinds of nuts and ask if she wants to come and spend her life with me in my beautiful home. The silk merchant was delighted with his parrot’s request and agreed to do it.

 

When he was in India , he went to the forest where he captured his parrot. He sat there until he heard a parrot calling him.

“Do you have any news from my beloved?”

He replied: “Yes, I have a message for you.”

“Tell me, is my beloved well?”

“Yes, of course.” He told me to tell you about his beautiful cage and  about all the nuts he eats, and he wants you to come with me to live with him.”

 

As soon as he finished, the parrot fell from the branch in front of him. Her wings separated as if she died instantly.

 

He left in bewilderment. When he got to Yazd , his parrot asked him if he visited the forest and why he didn’t bring his lover with him.

 

As soon as he told him what happened, his parrot fell to the floor of his cage and his wings separated as though he had instantly died.

 

He took his parrot out of cage, and put it on the ground, covered his face with his hands and wept. When he looked at his parrot, and before he had a chance to say anything, the parrot flew away, heading toward India .