Hello! I’m Polly, the parrot. I belong to the Morses. You know Spark, their bull terrier, don’t you? Well, I can’t help laughing every time I think how that dog acted when I first came to the Morse home. Funny? Whew! I should say so. He would growl and snarl at me and sulk in the corner, for all the world like a spoilt child. Then he would bark furiously, holding his tail straight up in the air until I thought he would never bring it down again.
At first I was really frightened. I said to myself, “If Spark dislikes me as much as all that he might jump up on my cage and start a fight. Although I have a hard, hooked beak with which to defend myself, still I believe a tussle with him would not be exactly pleasant. Bull terriers are pretty good fighters and I am not anxious to lose any of my beautiful bright plumage in a scrap with one of them.”
But if I had known Spark better I should have had no fear, for I soon found out that he is so good and loyal to the Morses that he wouldn’t harm any friend of theirs.
You see why Spark acted that way toward me, don’t you? He was jealous. Yes, sir, just as jealous as could be. He was their one and only pet until I came here. Mr. Morse and Mrs. Morse and Robert and Ruth and Janie and all their friends made such a fuss over him that he didn’t care to share their love with a new pet. Of course, I can sort of understand how he felt, but he shouldn’t have been so ugly about it. Should he?
Once, as he glared at me with his ears cocked and every hair on his body bristling, he looked so funny that I couldn’t help laughing aloud. I laughed and laughed and laughed. Mercy me, how I roared! The more I laughed, the angrier he grew. You see, we parrots are great teasers, and bull terriers can’t stand being teased a little bit. Then I sang out, as I rocked to and fro on my swing,
“Spark is mad and I am glad,
And I know how to tease him.
Spark is mad and I am glad,
And I know how to tease him.”
Oh, la, la, la! That made him furious. He had never heard a parrot talk before and he didn’t understand how I could speak just as people do. Now that he is used to me he isn’t surprised at anything I say, although, sometimes, when I feel like it, I talk all day long. Yes, I can say hundreds of things.
I aught to know a great deal. I began talking when I was but six months old and now I am twenty-five years old. That is young for a parrot. My mother was eighty-six when she died, and my father had celebrated his hundredth birthday. Most parrots live to be forty-five years of age.
Why, I am old enough to be Spark’s great grandmother. He should treat me with more respect. I think I shall tell him to call me “Granny” after this. Ha, ha! That’s funny. Don’t I say funny things?
One day, when Spark and I were quarreling and scrapping with each other, we made such a racket that Ruth came running in to see what the trouble was about. Coming right up to my cage and tapping my beak lightly with her pencil, she said,
“Polly, aren’t you ashamed of yourself? How can you find any fun in making others unhappy? I thought Spark and you would be such good friends, but last night father said, ‘If that dog and that parrot can’t agree better, something will have to be done.’ And when father says a thing, he means it. I know that. So, young lady, I warn you to stop your teasing, or maybe we won’t be able to keep you, and then I should feel just dreadful, because I think you are the funniest, wisest, dearest bird, and I love you already.”
While Ruth was talking to me I cocked my head on one side and carefully listened to every word. By the time she had finished, I had made up my mind to stop teasing Spark and to behave myself. So I stuck my head through the bars of my brass cage and coaxed, “Kiss Polly, Ruth. Naughty Poll. Bad Polly. Polly good now. Good Poll. Kiss Polly, Ruth!” Then Ruth kissed me on the top of my yellow head. She knelt down and taking Spark’s head between her two little hands, looked straight into his black eyes and said,
“Sparkie, boy, don’t you know that we all love you exactly as much as we ever did? Because we have a new member in our family is no reason why we should love any of the old ones less. Do you believe that father and mother loved Robert any less when I was born, or me any less when Janie came to us? I am surprised that a dog of your character and intelligence should be so foolish. I thought you had too much common sense that you were too fine a dog to be jealous of Polly. We are disappointed in you, dear.”
Spark cuddled up close to Ruth and, as he rubbed his head against her, looked so ashamed of himself that I could tell he was promising the little peace-maker not to be jealous any more but to be friends with me for ever and ever after. And I was right; because, as Ruth left the room, Spark marched up to my cage and barked in his friendliest voice.
“Bow-wow, bow-wow! Bow-wow, bow-wow!” I quickly answered,
“Polly and spark! Polly and Spark!
We are friends. Hark, Hark, Hark!”
Wouldn’t it be so wonderful if it was all as easy as that? All one would need was to be talked to and reasoned with, and we’d all be friends. 🙂
What did you like about this chapter? What kinds of things struck you? Do tell in the comments!