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Page from Tales of a Parrot (Tuti-nama): Fourth night: The mendicant’s wife deceives him with a soldier

Page from Tales of a Parrot (Tuti-nama): Fourth night: The mendicant’s wife deceives him with a soldier

c. 1560

Part of a set. See all set records

Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper

Overall: 20 x 13.5 cm (7 7/8 x 5 5/16 in.)

Gift of Mrs. A. Dean Perry 1962.279.26.b

Description

According to this story, written in Persian, a skilled yogi in India reached such a high level of practice that he was able to perform acts of transformation. Anxious to prevent his wife from committing adultery, he transformed himself into an elephant and carried her hidden in a howdah on his back and stayed only in the deep forest, away from men. One day, when the elephant was out foraging for food, a lone soldier came upon the wife, and they made love. The moral of the story is that no matter how extreme the lengths to which one might go to prevent adultery, if someone is inclined to do so, it will happen.

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