A long time ago people discovered that the lorikeet, a small, intelligent bird, could speak with little teaching. Not only was she able to repeat what she heard, she could also give voice to her own thoughts.
One day, a farmer working in his rice fields saw his neighbor's buffalo. The hungry farmer, killed the buffalo, cut up the animal, made a fine meal for himself and hid what he could not eat.
His neighbor came by and asked, "Have you seen my buffalo?"
The man said, "No."
The lorikeet flew to the neighbor and said, “He has killed and eaten part of your buffalo. The rest he has hidden in his fields and rice house." The neighbor looked and saw the meat, just as the bird foretold. He asked the farmer whose meat it was.
The farmer said, "This is not your buffalo meat. This is my meat."
The lorikeet repeated her words. "He has killed and eaten part of your buffalo. The rest he has hidden in his fields and rice house.
The neighbor was puzzled and wondered who was speaking the truth so he asked the magistrate to hear the case the following day.
The farmer was clever. He covered the lorikeet's cage with a huge pot. All night he beat on the pot to make the sounds of thunder. He poured water over the pot to create rain. He shook the pot to make it feel very windy.
In the morning, the farmer took the bird and appeared in court. The bird told her story. The judge was impressed by the bird's intelligence and clarity.
The farmer spoke, "The bird speaks well, but she speaks nonsense. Ask her to describe last night's weather."
The judge agreed. The lorikeet replied, "Last night we had a ferocious storm with much thunder, heavy rains and a strong wind."
"You see," said the farmer. "She speaks well but she speaks nonsense."
The judge spoke, "It is true. Last night was calm and clear. Case dismissed."
The lorikeet was exiled to the forest where she lived as she had before she knew people. One day in the forest, she saw a new bird covered with brilliantly colored feathers. She questioned the bird. "Who are you? Why are you here?"
The bird preened and spoke, "I have come from another country, but I will live here. I speak the language of people."
"The lorikeet said, "I welcome you with some advice. If you would speak to people, let them teach you what to say. People are not interested in truth or wisdom. They wish to hear only their own words.
And so it is. Parrots repeat what they are taught. People are content.
Wit and wisdom from around the world and through the ages. Tales by Nancy King.