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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "The Wanderings of Vicram Maharajah"

The Wanderings of Vicram Maharajah

Now the thousandth and first chanced to be none other than Vicram; all were released but he. Just as the hunter was going to cut the noose round his feet, he let his knife fall, and had to go down and pick it up again. When the thousand parrots who were on the ground heard him coming down, they thought, "The thousand and one must all be released now, and here comes the hunter. We must now fly away to safety." And in one moment they flew up into the air together and far out of sight, leaving poor Vicram Maharajah still a prisoner.

The hunter, seeing what had happened, was very angry. Seizing Vicram, he said, "You wretched bird, it's you that worked all this mischief. I know it must be, for you are a stranger here and different from the other parrots. I'll strangle you in any event - that I will!"

But to his surprise the parrot answered, "Do not kill me! What good will that do? Rather sell me in the next town. I am very handsome. And a parrot that talks as well as I do will fetch a thousand gold mohurs (several thousand dollars)."

"A thousand gold mohurs!" answered the hunter, much astonished. "You silly bird, who'd be so foolish as to give a thousand gold mohurs for a parrot?"

"Never mind," said Vicram, "only take me and try."

So the hunter took him into town and though most people laughed at the price, one merchant took a fancy to the talking bird, paid the thousand gold mohurs, and taking Vicram Maharajah home, hung him up in his shop.

The Parrot took on the duties of shopkeeper and talked so much, and so wisely, that everyone in town soon heard of the merchant's wonderful bird. Nobody cared to go to any other shop - all came to his shop, only to hear the Parrot talk. The merchant sold them whatever they wanted, and they did not care how much he charged for what he sold, but gave him whatever he asked; insomuch, that in one week, the merchant had made a thousand gold mohurs over and above his usual weekly profits.

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