The King and His Falcon: Arabian Nights Story

The King and His Falcon

A long time ago, in the land of Turkistan, there lived a king who loved to hunt. He was one of the best hunters around.

The king kept a falcon as a pet. It was devoted and wise. As a result, the king brought his falcon on all of his hunting expeditions. The falcon perched on the king’s shoulder as he rode into the forest on one such expedition. Some attendants rode alongside the king.

Deep within, the king noticed a gazelle near a stream. “Beautiful!” exclaimed the king. He was captivated by the animal’s long, slender antlers and graceful walk. The king seized his bow and arrow. The gazelle bolted from there, sensing danger.

The gazelle was pursued through the forest by the king and his attendants. However, the intelligent animal managed to avoid them. It dashed between the trees and bushes and vanished into the dense forest. “I will not give up,” the king declared. He persisted in his pursuit. The attendants had retreated by this point. And the king, with his falcon and horse, was alone. It was late at night. The king was exhausted and thirsty. He’d even gotten lost.

The king yelled, “Water… water!” He went in search of a lake or pond. He came across a small pool of water by chance. The king was completely exhausted. He quickly pulled out his cup and filled it with cool water.

“At long last… I can quench my thirst,” murmured the king. His falcon began flapping its wings as soon as he brought the cup to his mouth. The bird flung its feathers at the cup, causing the water to spill onto the ground. “What is it?” exclaimed the king. He did not, however, chastise the falcon because it was his favourite companion.

The king bent down patiently to refill his cup. The falcon fluttered around the king’s mouth again as he was about to drink from the cup, toppling the cup of water. The king was furious this time. “Why do you keep spilling the water?” “Don’t you realise how thirsty I am?” he yelled at the bird.

The bird continued to flap its wings and circle the king. “I think I made a mistake in trusting an ungrateful creature like you,” the king admitted. He drew his sword to dispatch the falcon. The falcon screeched and looked around. The king had the impression that the falcon was communicating with him.

When the king looked up, he realised why the bird had refused to allow him to drink from the cup. A tree grew alongside the pool of water, its branches spreading in all directions. On the branches were hundreds of poisonous snakes coiled up.

And the pool of water was nothing more than the venom dripping from the snakes’ mouths. The king was about to drink this poisonous liquid, mistaking it for water. And the falcon had prevented him from doing so!

The king realised his loyal falcon had saved his life. “Thank you, friend,” the king said to his falcon. And the falcon perched on his shoulder, relieved that his master was safe. The king then rode back home, his admiration for his pet renewed.

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