The Tale of Winston Perchhill – Part Two
After the passage of many years, this mostly tranquil, comfortable life was snatched away from me when my lady and I left our great mansion. I had done my best to get her to stay, greeting every stranger and telling them, in my own words, that we were very happy there and did not want to go, to no avail. Again I was in the car, but this time it was not just a short ride. We went through whole neighborhoods, over rough roads and roads that went through great red rocks, and into places completely covered with trees. We parked in front of a little blue house surrounded by snow, and there was not another bird in sight! I had barely had time to say goodbye to my outdoor friends at the mansion and now I had no one, except my lady. I was miserable and she knew it.
She kept me by her side all day and took me with her whenever she went anywhere in the car. Although I had a big window to look out, there was nothing to see except those awful green trees and that snow on the ground. Oh, the occasional group of four-legged animals would go by; but I did miss my birds. I was so unhappy, I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t even whistle. I just sat on the bottom of my cage and dreamed of my lost flock. Nothing could make me forget and I got weaker and weaker. I could hear my lady talking about me to someone I could not see and one day she left me alone in the house for several hours. When she came home, she was carrying a huge new cage that held the two most beautiful birds I ever saw! They looked somewhat like me; but I’m just a couple of shades of gray, and they were pure white! I knew I was in love with one of them the moment I saw her, and immediately I stretched and got myself off the bottom of my cage.
When my lady let me out, I strolled right over to the white birds and began to whistle as I had never whistled before. I belted out “The Marine Corps Hymn” over and over, slightly spreading my wings and bowing to my new love. I did not feel the sting I should have felt from the incredulous looks I received from the white birds and I began to tell them in my own words how I felt about her: “I love you, pretty bird!” When my love turned her back on me and hurried away, I asked her “What’s the matter?” Even though my appetite was returning, I forgot to eat very much. It had been a long day, but I was still serenading. When we were put to bed, they were in their cage and I in mine. It didn’t seem fair that that other bird got to be near my love all night and I had to sleep by myself! I thought about her until I fell asleep; and when I awoke the next morning, a few hours earlier than usual, I began my serenade all over again.
When we were finally allowed out and she majestically ascended my hanging perch, I stood beneath her looking up, and whistled. I quickly learned that she had a hard heart, but I was determined to win her over. During the daytime, the white birds and I were always free to go out of our cages. I noticed they had a bit of a waddle that I didn’t have, but it was quite endearing. When we ate, they pecked away incessantly until they got their fill and I would choose each seed carefully and munch on it slowly, giving my lady a glance after my every bite, just to make sure that she could see I was really part of my new flock. My muscles were very weak, so I had to watch from a distance as my white birds climbed between cages and flew up to the highest bookshelves and ventured throughout the house. I was, however, able to explore their cage, which was a wonder, filled with toys of every sort. At first, the white birds would pair up against me, not willing to share; and my love would call to him in her coy little way, while I would wander around alone, sometimes letting my competition know that I was serious about turning the head of my newfound love.
I don’t recall exactly when I succeeded in that, but succeed I did, in a big way! I had suddenly become irresistible to her and she was coyly calling to me! My lady began referring to the other white bird as “my dear little orphan boy” and I could totally empathize with him, but this was love and I wasn’t going to miss out on a second of it! I was an old bird—sixteen and counting – and didn’t have much time left, but I was beginning to feel great.
I don’t miss the mansion anymore and I have begun to think about my old flock less and less. The warm weather has returned and there are dozens of birds outside, along with many more of those four-legged animals, some with their babies, and many other types of animals who weren’t here in the cold. I have my pure white love and our mutual white friend, and a comfortable, cozy cottage, and my lady. That’s a lot of things to whistle about and I whistle periodically from morning until sleep. I have taken up the chirp of the white birds that is much more musical than a simpler one I borrowed years ago. I have truly become one of them: we share our cages and we eat and sleep together, and we are happy. Would you believe it, I can fly now – mostly, however, in a downward trajectory; but my wings are getting stronger and I glide farther every day! My lady smiles a lot as she watches over us. She and I still review my words and my song every day; and I have gotten used to sitting on her shoulder while we have good, long talks. You know, I never once let my lady touch my back until I saw how much my white birds enjoy it; but now I can sit for hours letting my lady stroke my feathers and rub my face, and kiss me – right on the beak! It is, in fact, a very good life!
Article written by Mary Anne Little