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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 !

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

a leg-loving macaw in cuba, 1850

thanks pixabay (PD)
Lady Victoria Welby grew up to become a philosopher and woman of letters.  Before she did that, though, she was a girl of twelve on an adventure through North and South America, then came back and wrote a book of her experiences (she may have been all of 13 when she published it).  Among her memories I found this vignette of a Cuban pet who liked to yell "Touch the leg!" ...

The master of this hotel (an American) has in the house a most formidable and fierce pet in the shape of a huge mackaw, which takes the greatest possible pleasure in flying at everybody, — especially if they are strangers, — and biting them, sometimes severely, as I myself have experienced to my cost. But still this fierce bird is not untameable, as I have proved, by rendering it the most docile and affectionate of creatures, to me at least. This wonderful transformation has been effected by two most simple rules, namely, bestowing on it frequent presents of banana and pineapple, and stroking it often, backwards, on the top of the head: all birds appear to me to like this last process extremely. It seems now to be very fond of me, pursuing me along the passages, not for biting purposes, but in order to mount upon my arm, and talk to me in its own droll way. Sometimes when sitting quietly in our own room, I hear a tremendous scratching at the door and vehement shriekings of "Toca la pata" or something resembling it; and upon the door being opened, in rushes our friend, who immediately tears through the room to the balcony, where he finds the greatest amusement in climbing up and down the railing, muttering to himself, in a voice of most comical gravity, "Toca la pata!"
-- Welby, V. (1852). A young traveller's journal of a tour in North and South America during the year 1850. London: T. Bosworth. 212-3

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