The Śukasapati (The seventy-two tales of the parrot) is a collection of stories originally written in Sanskrit. The Gujarati version contained in this manuscript was composed by Ratnasundara in 1581 CE. The manuscript was probably made in Gujarat and is bound together with five finely executed miniatures depicting Jinas in meditation with attendants.
What is the Śukasapati?
The seventy-two stories were told by the parrot to the queen Prabhāvatī in order to stop her going out looking for a lover whilst her husband Madana had gone on a long journey. The parrot dares to criticise the queen’s intentions and is threatened of death, however eventually the queen consents to hear his first story. By the time the parrot has finished his tale, it is quite late in the evening and the queen decides to go to sleep. This same situation takes place on the sixty-nine following evenings for as many different tales until Madana returns home. The king at first is suspicious about his wife, however the parrot calms him down with the seventieth story, after which the king’s father proclaims a great festival in honour of Madana and Prabhāvatī and the parrot ascends to heaven.