Carlos and the Parrot©

Many years ago, in a kingdom by the sea, a poor boy named Carlos lived in the streets near the king’s castle. He had no mother or father, and his closest friend was a parrot. The parrot was a beautiful bird that had been given to him by an old sea captain.

But Carlos had no way to earn money to buy food, so he told everyone that his parrot had magic and, for a small price, could answer any “yes or no” question correctly. And the parrot was always right.

One day, a captain in the king’s army came to Carlos and said, “I would like to talk to this parrot I’ve heard so much about.” And he dropped a coin into the boy’s cup. “All right parrot,” questioned the captain. “Am I a soldier?”

“Yes,” said the bird.

“Have I lost any battles?” he then asked.

“No,” answered the parrot.

“This is amazing,” said the captain as he slowly walked away. But, what the captain did not know was that Carlos had taught the parrot a trick. When Carlos would wink his right eye, the parrot would say “yes.” And when Carlos would wink his left eye, the parrot would say “no.” And Carlos knew everything about everybody in the village.

But something awful was about to happen. The captain told the king about this strange bird that could answer correctly to any “yes or no” question, and the king ordered the boy and the parrot to be brought before him.

Carlos was very frightened when the soldiers brought him to face the king. Surely the king would punish him if he knew that this was only a trick.

The king had called in all his wise men to question the parrot and to see how wise she might be. So they began to ask questions.

“Are we the wisest of the king’s men?” they asked.

“Yes,” said the parrot.

“Does the king have a wife?” asked another.

“No,” said the parrot.

Then the king joined in. “Do I like to eat turnips?” he questioned.

There was a sudden silence. Carlos didn’t know the answer and had to make a wild guess. He then winked his left eye, and the parrot said “no.”

The king laughed. “He’s right, and no one knows that but me. We must keep this parrot in the castle,” he stated. “Give the boy a few pieces of silver and send him away.”

“Oh, please, Your Majesty,” said Carlos, “don’t take my parrot. Besides, she will not speak unless I am with her.”

“Nonsense,” said the king. “We shall see. Take the boy to another room.”

And they took Carlos away. The king then asked the parrot, “Am I the king?” The parrot didn’t answer.

“He’s right,” said the king. “The parrot will not answer without him.” So they brought Carlos back into the room. The king then turned to the parrot and said, “Now tell me, wise bird, if I let the boy stay, will you remain at the castle and help me rule the kingdom?”

“Yes, yes, yes,” responded the parrot—as Carlos and the parrot winked at each other and thought they would live happily ever after.

But we never found out if they did.

What you hide today can bring you sorrow
When the truth comes out sometime tomorrow.
Carlos and the Parrot Carlos and the Parrot