by Janet Slike
(Dublin, Oh, USA)
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The author at her computer heard her parrot squawk. His squawks made her suddenly think of a story, a marvelous story that made her heart leap. Though most words weren't quite right at first, the author joyfully wrote her tale.
"This story has never been told before," she said to the parrot. "How amazing that the universe gave me this story!"
She began writing her parrot story in summer. A few days after she started she changed the parrot's home from India to Mexico. In fall, as the leaves changed from green to gold, she changed the parrot's name from Miguel to Paco. In winter, she finished all the changes.
"This is the best story I can return to the universe. It's time to mail it."
The mailman smiled as he held the envelope sealed with a parrot sticker. He knew the author wanted more than anything to have a book with her name on it. He knew she kissed each manuscript goodbye. The mailman felt as warm as the tropics as he trudged through the slush. He was proud to carry the story on its journey, proud to help someone's dream come true.
The editor opened the envelope, hoping for a story to love. The stories she read before it that day made her sleepy. She danced around her desk as she read the parrot story!
"This story must become a book," she said to all the other editors and they agreed.
"It needs splendid pictures!" they sang out.
The editor sent the story to her favorite artist.
The artist ate his lunch before opening the envelope from the editor. "It's probably another story about a cat or a dog, no offense guys," he said to the collie and Siamese cat who shared his farmhouse. Though he loved cats and dogs, he longed to paint something more exotic. He read the story. He had always wanted to paint parrots! He put bright yellow on his brush, then red, blue, green.
"That parrot looks so real that children will want to touch the feathers," his neighbor said.
"Then I have done my job!" the artist replied.
The bookstore owner opened the box of books.
"What beautiful pictures! What a fun story!" said the bookstore owner. "My customers need to read this book." She put signs about the book in the window. So many people bought the book that the bookstore owner gave a raise to every worker. She built a storytelling stage. She donated money to the Parrot Preservation Society.
"Who would have guessed that one book could do so much good?" she asked the librarian as she handed him a copy.
"It will do even more good after I read it to Mrs. Smith's class," he answered.
The librarian decided to dress up as the parrot and act out the story. He loved dressing up to help stories come alive. He glued a tiny crack in the beak, then his parrot costume was perfect. He rushed to school the next day, excited to help the boy in Mrs. Smith's class who was terrified of birds.
The class turned into pirates, princesses, tigers, and leopards when they acted out the story. They told the librarian that it was their favorite book of the school year.
The boy wrote to the author.
"I am not afraid of birds anymore because the parrot in your story was funny, not scary. Thank you for making me feel brave." He kissed his letter goodbye and sealed it with a heart sticker.
The author was so happy that she framed the letter and bought her parrot a perch.
The parrot, unaware that he caused all the happiness from the author to the mailman to the editor to the artist to the bookstore owner to the librarian to the class to the boy and back to the author again climbed onto his perch. He squawked for a treat and got one.
The parrot didn't know how to say "Thank you."
"Little lions like linguini," he said.
"Where did you learn that?" the author asked. She thought about what he said. "Lions opening a pasta restaurant! That is a great story!"
The circle of joy began again.