Presumptions and Reactions

An oil-woman kept a parrot which used to amuse her with its agreeable talk and friendliness, and she had him to watch her shop when she went out and about. One day, when the parrot was alone in the shop, a cat chasing a mouse caused such commotion that it rattled the parrot’s cage and upset one of the oil-jars. When the oil-woman returned home she thought that the parrot had done this mischief, and in her anger she struck the parrot such a blow on the head that all its head feathers dropped off. The parrot was so stunned that it lost the power of speech for several days.  A few days later the parrot saw a bald-headed sage passing the shop, and recovering its speech, it cried out, “Whose oil-jar did you upset?”

Adapted from a story by Rumi

—Linda Modaro