Once upon a time there was a parrot who could talk like a person. He didn’t just imitate human sounds like some parrots can, but he actually talked and said whatever he wanted to say. This, of course, made him very famous. People would come from miles around to see the talking parrot, and everyone who came paid him a little money to hear him say something funny. It didn’t take long for the talking parrot to get quite rich. He also got quite proud.
He used his money to build himself a big house in the mountains, and next to the house, he had the workmen build a giant statue of himself. The thirty foot statue of a parrot soon became just as famous as the talking parrot himself, so he made more money than ever and was prouder than ever of himself.
Then one day some scientists came to the parrots door. The didn’t want to pay money to hear the parrot talk. They wanted to do the talking. They told the parrot that one of the nearby mountains was a volcano and that it was about to erupt. If it did, it would destroy his house, statue and all. He just laughed because he didn’t believe them. The scientists showed him all their instruments and studies. He didn’t understand what any of it meant, so he still didn’t believe them. Finally, they told him that if he flew to the top of his statue, he’d be able to see the top of the volcano and see the smoke rising. They told him to hurry, since it could explode at any moment.
When the scientists left, the parrot went outside and tried to fly to the top of the statue. He couldn’t. He hadn’t flown in so long that he had forgotten how to do it. Instead, he had to slowly and painfully climb to the top of the statue. It was very hard work, and the parrot wasn’t used to working hard. He huffed and puffed and wished very much that he hadn’t made the statue so tall. Finally, he made it to the top. The first thing he saw when he got there was the smoking volcano. He began to feel very afraid.
The second thing he saw when he got to the top was a nest with a family of parrots living in it. They were as surprised to see him as he was to see them. The parrot soon forgot his surprise, though, when he saw a little bit of lava escape the top of the volcano. He turned to the family and said, “Hurry! The volcano is exploding! We all need to get out of here! Fly to safety!”
The parrot family replied, “Squawk?”
The parrot had forgotten that other parrots didn’t speak people language. He tried again, “Bok-bok!”
The parrot family replied, “Squawk?”
The parrot had forgotten how to speak parrot language! He tried and he tried, but everything came out wrong. The volcano glowed brighter and brighter and the parrot was getting desperate. Finally, he grabbed the littlest baby parrot out of the nest and jumped off the edge of the statue. He fell about halfway down before he finally got his wings to work right and fly. Naturally, the parrot parents followed angrily after him, wanting their baby back. The parrot flew toward the volcano, hoping that the parrot parents would notice how hot it was. It worked. Just when the talking parrot got very tired and turned back for the statue, the daddy parrot saw the lava.
“Squawk!” he said.
When they all got back to the statue, the mommy and daddy parrot gathered up their babies. There was a loud BOOM! and a big cloud of ash and smoke rose into the air. The talking parrot and his new friends flew to safety just in time.
After that, the talking parrot returned to the jungle to live with the other parrots. He learned again how to speak parrot language and he practiced his flying every day. He didn’t ever want to be that helpless again. And to this day, if you are walking in the jungle, you may hear a strange voice saying, “Hello, there!” But you’ll never see anything but some bright tail feathers as they fly away.