Thursday, February 17, 2011

The talking Parrots

In Tamil we call young ones of parrot as கிளி பிள்ளை”. Whatever we teach or show to our young ones are being absorbed by them and retained by them till they grow. Hence our elders used to say that only good things are to be taught and good visuals are to be shown to the kids. We all know about this story; but has been retold for the story sake.

In the village of Bangalpur there lived a bird catcher named Shambu.  Everyday Shambu would go into the forest and catch birds and sell them in the town. One day Shambu caught two parrots close to a summer palace in the forest.  Surprisingly both the parrots could speak. Shambu thanked god for a good and valuable catch.

That day he set out to sell the parrots. First he came across a hermitage in the forest. When the hermit saw the parrots he wished to keep one for company. So the hermit agreed to pay Shambu six gold coins for the parrot. Shambu readily agreed and left one of the parrots with the hermit.
Shambu then travelled further into the city and came across a butcher’s shop. On reaching there he wanted to buy some fresh meat. On the specialty section hung a deer. Shambu was intrigued to taste a rare meat of the deer. So he asked the butcher if the deer was for sale. The butcher mocked at Shambu’s expensive choice. But Shambu said he had a talking parrot which would equal the meat of a deer.  This perked the butcher’s interest. After examining the parrot the butcher agreed to a give a portion of the deer to Shambu.  Shambu left the place happy with the deal that he had made with the two parrots.

A few months passed and Shambu continued with his bird catching and selling while completely forgetting about the two parrots. The summer season had heralded its arrival. The King and the Queen left for the summer palace.  On reaching the summer palace the Queen wanted to hear her favourite talking parrots speak to her. So she sent her servant to fetch the parrots. But when the servant returned not able to find the parrots the Queen became furious.

Immediately the King ordered soldiers to search around the area. At this time Shambu was catching bird near the precincts of the summer palace.  The soldiers on seeing him with a bird in his hand immediately arrested him and took him to the King. 

At the audience hall of the summer palace the King and the Queen heard what Shambu had to say in his defence. Shambu explained to the royal pair that he had caught birds that where outside the summer palace. But he did mention that he had once caught a pair of talking parrots and sold it at a profit.
The King being of the benevolent kind did not punish Shambu but asked him to show them where he had sold the parrots. Shambu took the King and the Queen to the hermit’s hut where the parrot was perching on a wooden ring near the hermit’s study table.   

On seeing the King and the Queen, the parrot immediately bowed before them. When the King asked the parrot how it was. The parrot replied courteously that he was doing well and requested to know what the King and the Queen would want as refreshment.  The King and the Queen were very pleased with the parrot. After everyone was seated and given refreshment by the inmates of hermitage the parrot entertained the visitors with recitation of slokas from the scared scriptures.

The Hermit arrived at that moment from the forest after having gathered the woods. The King and the Queen paid obeisance to the hermit and said that they were pleased to see their parrot having gained so much knowledge through the hermit.

After a while the King and the Queen left the hermitage. Shambu took the King and the Queen to the butcher’s shop. They found the parrot playing with a green chilly. As soon as the parrot saw the King and the Queen it started to speak such foul words. Hearing these words the King and the Queen were greatly disappointed. They could not understand the behaviour of the parrot. Right then the butcher arrived and apologised for parrot’s foul words.

The King and the Queen were deeply perplexed by both the parrots.  Shambu understanding their confusion bowed respectfully and said that both the parrots were influenced by the environment in which they were living. The Hermit’s parrot learned good things and spoke good words while the butcher’s parrot learned all the vile things and spoke foul words. The King and the Queen understood how much a person’s environment affected their speech and behaviour. Being pleased with Shambu’s explanation they rewarded him with a bag of gold coins and returned to their summer palace.