Thinking Thursday ~ A Parrot Parable


This is an ancient Indian tale recounted for the benefit of the modern world. i had heard it in my native language and have attempted a translation here.

Once upon time in the land of incredible India there lived a man who often traveled from the city where he worked to his native village. On all these occasions he had to pass through a large mango grove (this spot is now replaced by a high tech building in the modern era  ). On the way, he used to rest under the cool shades of the mango trees. Now this grove happened to be the home of a large family of parrots and the man made it a habit to stop by at the mango grove just to hear the sweet chatter of the parrots perched on the trees.

On one of his visits, the man was gripped by a burning desire to pet a parrot and so he picked up one of the most charming parrots that came his way and made a home for it in a golden cage at his city house. He loved the bird dearly and fed it with enormous fruits and grains. He also taught the parrot to talk and the latter being very smart, picked up his language sooner than expected and started conversing with him at ease. One fine day, the cute bird told its master “Oh Man! You have taught me your language. Why don’t you learn my language from me?”. The man being all the more curious and also very fond of his caged pet, consented and started learning the parrot’s language. What had earlier seemed a mere parrot screech now made so much sense to him. The days thus passed with the man and bird alternating their chats in the human and bird language.

One fine day, the man set out to visit his village on his usual rounds. Seeing the man get ready, the parrot asked him, “Dear Master, may I know where you are going?”. The man replied, “I’m going out”. “I can see that”, the smart parrot reparteed “only tell me which place you are visiting”. Seeing no way out, the man responded that he was visiting his native village. Hearing this, the little bird’s face fell. The man was very fond of his parrot and unable to bear its crestfallen face, asked what the matter was. “I’m reminded of my relatives who live in the mango grove that you would be passing by. I’ve been separated from them for a long time and I miss them all”. A minute of silence passed between the two. “Could you do me a favor? Now that you know the parrot language, could you please tell my relatives in our language that I convey my love to them?” asked the bird. The man readily agreed and left for his destination.

The man passed by the mango grove and while resting under a shady tree, conveyed his pet’s message to its relatives in the parrot language. Hearing this, about five parrots fell to the ground simultaneously. The man was shocked by this reaction. He was expecting a return of the wishes to his pet but this gesture was absolutely bewildering. He picked up a fallen parrot and was sorrowed to see that there was no sign of life. Not a feather moved. This was the case with all the other fallen parrots as well. Being reminded of their dear one who no longer lived with them now, the parrots had embraced death. Stunned and touched by the close networking of these birds, the man went home.

The anxious pet asked if the master had conveyed the message. The man related all that had happened in the grove. Just as he completed, the little parrot also dropped dead. The man was deeply grieved to see his pet perish but at the same time wonderstruck at the abundant affection that bonded these birds together. “These birds are truly tied with each other and live in so much harmony. How we human beings are so inferior before these amazing creatures!” Thinking thus, he went to the garden and opened the cage in order to bury the dead bird. Just as he opened the doors of the cage, the dead bird flapped its wing and flew atop a nearby tree. The man was completely confused. “I can see what you are thinking, my master”, chirped the parrot, “When you conveyed my affection to my folks, they communicated a reply to me. It was a non-verbal one and so you probably missed it. By dropping dead, they indicated to me that I should also pretend to drop dead and thus make way for my freedom. I did just what was communicated and here I am – free from my days of bondage. I’m now flying to join my brood and live in my natural habitat. I just want you to remember that we birds also communicate non–verbally”. Saying so, the bird soared into the sky and wafted its way to meet its near and dear. The man simply marveled at the ingenuity of these birds and wondered if it is worthwhile to take pride in man’s possession of the six senses.

And so my friends, we really need to think twice before claiming ourselves the best creatures in the universe. And the word “bird brain” – would you ever dare to use it now? 

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2 thoughts on “Thinking Thursday ~ A Parrot Parable

  1. I’m so glad that you let me know about you blog, I was unaware that you had one. I’ll come back often the read, learn and be inspired! Starr

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