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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Monday, January 28, 2008

a birdbrained tale

Since I have spent most of today deathly ill, I was crashed out reading the new Iggy Pop biography, Open Up and Bleed. It's good. And there was a passage or two about Iggy/Jim Osterberg's (one and the same guy as you probably know) yellow parakeet, which would sit on his shoulder as he wrote songs. The little guy died, which was a source of no little distress for Jim. And I'm thinking, "Aw, I know."

So I was in a pet-bird mood today and bring you this folktale of a magpie that gets short shrift for its honesty:

The Indiscreet Magpie (Switzerland)

There was a woman who had a caged magpie that could talk, and it told everything that it saw and whatever anyone did.

Now it happened that her husband was saving a fine, large eel in a tub, planning to serve it to a friend for dinner. But one day while he was away, his wife caught the eel, cooked it, and ate it herself. She planned to claim that an otter had stolen the eel, but when her husband came home, her magpie said, "Master, my mistress ate the eel."

He went to the tub, and not finding the eel, he asked his wife what had happened to it. She started to make an excuse, but he interrupted her, "I know that you ate it, because the magpie told me so!" And he scolded her with angry words.

As soon as the man left, the woman grabbed the magpie and pulled every last feather from its head. "That's your punishment for telling about the eel," she said.

From that time forth, whenever the magpie saw bald-headed person, it would cry out, "You too must have told about the eel!"

Source here. And this is what magpies look like - they are lovely and flashy.

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