Other Animals

The Feathered Policeman

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KING was a parrot, and master of the place, except when the owner decided otherwise. He kept strict guard over the premises, scolding the birds that gluttonously ravaged the fruit, driving away bad dogs that came to steal, and keeping out, with his talk, numerous beggars who might have borrowed (?) certain things and forgotten to return them.

King was a very useful and highly prized bird; for though he had the range of the place, he was content to abide at home, where his valuable assistance was needed.

A band of ruffians who lived by stealing, had taken up their quarters in the town, and the people were sorely vexed because Of them. The police were constantly on the watch, but no one succeeded in catching the outlaws. So matters dragged on for months. Then the thieves decided to plunder the doctor's home on the hill. They immediately found themselves in trouble, because King guarded his master's property. I nearly forgot to tell you that King's master was a doctor.

One dark night, the doctor, who lived alone much of the time, saddled his horse, and hurried away in answer to an urgent call. The patter of hurrying hoofs sounded along the driveway. Scarcely had the gate swung closed behind the hastening doctor ere three men stepped from the shadow.

Two remained without, one on either side of the house, while the third pushed open the unfastened door and entered. He had nothing to fear; therefore he took no care to conceal his movements or to avoid making a noise during his search. Because it was unhandy to find things in the dark, the thief struck a light, and soon the place hid nothing from any eye that cared to look. Taking from inside his coat a large sack, the man proceeded to fill it with various articles of value, going through the whole house, till the bag became bulky and quite unwieldy. Then, with some difficulty, he passed from the doctor's study into the dining room, which was King's sleeping quarters and the last room to be pillaged.

As soon as the lights flared, Mr. Parrot blinked his eyes and shifted on his perch drowsily. But all at once, he became alert, for the man before him was not his master. Something must be wrong! Silently he watched the intruder going around the room. The man had not seen the bird, and knew of no living thing around but himself and his two confederates. Just as he was about to tie the sack, having finished his pilferage, a shrill voice cried angrily: "Stop it, I say! Stop it! A-a-h, I'll have to shoot you!" These were the words the doctor always used when rebuking his pet, and the parrot employed them now to advantage.

The man stopped as though shot. He dropped his heavy sack and rushed for the door. Before he got out, King swooped down upon him, and plunged his bill into the frightened man's face, tearing at the thief's left eye so that he drew forth blood and screams of anguish.

The two thieves who had remained outside took alarm for their safety, and fled at once, leaving their comrade to escape any way he could. With his blinded eye and the other wounds inflicted by the angry parrot, the thief could hardly move for intense pain and fear. He groped his way, in the dark, to the porch, where, unable to see, he fell off the edge, striking his head against a hitching block on the ground below, and lay there unconscious from the blow.

Arriving at the home to which he was supposed to have been called, the doctor found no one sick, and took instant warning. He turned his horse about, and ran for his home on the hill. From a distance, the light blinked at him; and he spurred the speeding animal to greater exertion. As he raced along the highway, two men stepped out of the road into the concealing bushes; but he paid no attention to them, and dashed on to the house, where he drew rein and leaped to the ground, with pistol in hand.

King met him at the door, calling: "Stop it, I say! Stop it! A-a-h, I'll have to shoot you!" Quickly the doctor glanced about, observing the abandoned sack, also the blood upon the floor and over King's head. A groan attracted him to the porch, where, upon striking a match, he discovered the injured thief.

The poor fellow had suffered the loss of his left eye, with the added affliction of a broken collar bone, bruises, cuts, and scratches, which were all the result of his attempted burglary. The doctor dressed the wounds, and King stood close by all the while, saying: "Stop it, I say! Stop it! A-a-h, I'll have to shoot you!"

Anger at his companions for their cowardice in deserting him, led the captive thief to reveal the names and whereabouts of all the others in his company. Thus was the whole band broken up. So you can see that King, by his faithfulness, performed an act that was not only of signal service to his master, but also a great blessing to the whole town. After this thrilling experience, the doctor's fighting parrot was known far and wide as "the feathered policeman."

 Robert G. Strickland. Our Little Friend - December 12 1924 =^..^=