Monday, July 5, 2010

The Parrot and the Turtle-Dove

The Parrot and the Turtle-Dove. The parrot had been brought from the East to the West where birds of his type were not usually found. He was surprised that he was held in great esteem and honor, more so than in his native land, for he now lived in an ivory cage interwoven with branches made of silver and he was given the most exquisite food to eat. Meanwhile, this was not the case for the native western birds, even though there were no less beautiful than he was, and no less talented at imitating human speech. Then the turtle-dove, who lived in the same cage, said to the parrot, "There is nothing surprising about it: no one ever gets the honor he deserves in his own homeland."

Psittacus et Turtur. Psittacus, ex oriente in occidentem delatus, ubi huiusmodi aves nasci non consueverunt, admirabatur sese in maiori pretio et honore haberi quam in natali consuevisset solo, nam caveam eburneam argenteis contextam virgis incolebat suavissimisque alebatur cibis, quod ceteris avibus occidentalibus, quae neque in forma, neque exprimendis humanis vocibus erant inferiores, non contingebat. Tunc Turtur, in eadem cavea conclusus, "Hoc" inquit "nulla est admiratione dignum: nulli enim in patria meritus honor exhiberi solet."

Notes. This is Abstemius 106. I guess you could call this an "Orientalist" fable about the attractions of exotic items imported from the east. It also resonates with the proverb made famous in the Bible, Luke 4:24. Nemo propheta acceptus est in patria sua; No prophet is accepted in his own country.

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