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A Conversing Parrot

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During the government of Prince Maurice in Brazil, he had heard of an old
parrot that was much celebrated for answering like a rational creature
many of the common questions put to it. It was at a great distance; but so
much had been said about it that the prince's curiosity was roused, and he
directed it to be sent for. When it was introduced into the room where the
prince was sitting, in company with several Dutchmen, it immediately
exclaimed in the Brazilian language, "What a company of white men are
here!" They asked it, "Who is that man?" (pointing to the prince). The
parrot answered, "Some general or other." When the attendants carried it
up to him, he asked it, through the medium of an interpreter (for he was
ignorant of its language), "Whence do you come?" The parrot answered,
"From Marignan." The prince asked, "To whom do you belong?" It answered,
"To a Portuguese." He asked again, "What do you there?" It answered, "I
look after chickens." The prince laughing, exclaimed, "You look after
chickens!" The parrot in answer said, "Yes, I; and I know well enough how
to do it;" clucking at the same time in imitation of the noise made by the
hen to call together her young.

The prince afterwards observed that although the parrot spoke in a
language he did not understand, yet he could not be deceived, for he had
in the room both a Dutchman who spoke Brazilian, and a Brazilian who spoke
Dutch; that he asked them separately and privately, and both agreed
exactly in their account of the parrot's discourse.





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