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April 18 , 2010

The Rich Man and the Parrot


“The Indian parrot that finds a way to escape from his comfortable, yet confining cage in a rich Persian merchant’s garden, exemplifies the desire for liberty. This 13th-century tale, retold from the Masnavi, a collection by the Persian poet Rumi, is set in a later period, denoted by the merchant’s touring car and turn-of-the-20th-century furnishings, but it remains timeless. When the merchant takes a buying trip to India, the bird asks him to visit his brother parrots. The man obeys and witnesses a strange turn of events. At the merchant’s greeting, the colorful birds all fall down, seemingly dead. When the merchant tells his beloved pet this story, the parrot imitates his brothers and the merchant is horrified. Only then does the man open the cage and the wily bird escapes, telling the man how his fellow parrots gave him insight into how to win his freedom. An easy-to-understand allegory with colorful paintings of both the beautiful yet domesticated Persian garden and the wilder Indian jungle.” —Kirkus Reviews

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