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The Brave Little Parrot

Published October 15, 2016
Countries: India
Age Levels: 5-6 and up

A Parrot lived in the top of the trees in a huge forest. One day a dangerous storm came to his forest home. Lightning flashed! Thunder crashed! A dead tree was struck by lightning and burst into flames. Soon the whole forest was on fire. Animals ran in every direction, seeking safety from the flames and smoke.

"Fire!" cried the little parrot. "Run to the river!"  He began to fly quickly toward the safety of the river. He flew fast. But on the way to the safety of the river he saw animals that were trapped, surrounded by the flames. They had no chance to escape.

The Parrot flew to the river. He dipped himself in the water, and flew back over the crackling flames. The heat rising up from the burning forest was like the heat of an oven. Thick smoke made it hard to breathe. The Parrot flew to the middle of the forest and shook his wings and released the drops of water which still clung to his feathers. The tiny drops vanished with a hissss as they hit the flames.

The Parrot flew back through the flames and smoke to the river, dipped himself in the cool water, and flew back again over the burning forest. Back and forth he flew. Soon his feathers were black. His feet were burned. It hurt to breathe. But he still flew on.

Animals who had made it to the river watched the Parrot fly back and forth. Other birds watched from the safety of branches of trees on the other side of the river. They pointed at him. “Look, he is trying to put out the fire by dropping water on it with his wings. How silly!" they laughed.

A giant eagle flew down into the little parrot's path. “Go back, little bird!" said the eagle. "Your task is hopeless! A few drops of water can't put out a forest fire! Stop and save yourself.”

But the little parrot continued to fly on through the smoke and flames. He could hear the great eagle flying above him as the heat grew fiercer. "Stop, little parrot! Save yourself!"

The Parrot flew back and forth until he was exhausted. But he continued on, trying to save the lives of the animals below.

God watched from above. He usually let humans and animals alone and did not interfere with their lives. But he watched the little bird and felt sad. Then God began to cry. Tears began to fall from his eyes. The tears turned into rain. The rain began to pour. The flames began to die. The air began to cool. The animals below were saved. The little parrot finally stopped to rest. His wings were black. His feathers were burned.

Then God smiled down on the little Parrot. He cried tears of happiness that fell down on the Parrot. Where the teardrops touched the parrot's wings, new feathers now grew. Red feathers, green feathers, yellow feathers -- such bright colors! The other animals looked at the little Parrot that had saved them. “Hurray for the brave little parrot and for the miraculous rain!"

*Story made popular by Rafe Martin in The Hungry Tigress (1990)