An old legend tells that many years ago parrots and cockatoos, despite being close relatives and living in the same forest, got along very badly. No one remembered the reason for the conflict, but the fact is that they could not even see each other and very unpleasant arguments and fights often arose between them.
So serious was the matter that on a certain occasion the leader of the great family of parrots and the leader of the great family of cockatoos made a decision: to divide the territory in two. By mutual agreement, the northern part of the forest was kept by the parrots and the southern part by the cockatoos. This allowed both sides to continue with their lives ignoring each other, and naturally the fights disappeared.
At that time, a young green parrot with a yellow nape decided to undertake a two-month trip to see something of the world. Eager to live adventures, he planned to cross the forest until he saw the beach, and once there, decide which way to go. Several ideas were buzzing in his head, but the one he most wanted was to sneak onto a ship and sail to an exotic and distant destination.
The problem was that to get to the coast he had to cross the southern part, and that could have serious consequences. He weighed the pros and cons and they won the advantages by a landslide, so in the end, he chose to take the risk.
He left his home one warm summer morning, just after sunrise, and flew through his beloved northern forest. He realized that he had reached the border because he ran into a kilometric wooden fence. Several posters with large red letters were propped up on it, sending out a threatening message:
“ATTENTION PARROTS: FORBIDDEN TO GO TO THE SOUTH ZONE. RISK OF PRISON”
From the nerves his legs began to tremble as if they were made of jelly. He took a deep breath and tried to relax by circling his neck and taking a sip from the canteen. When he felt calmer, he wiped the sweat from his forehead with a handkerchief, checked that his compass worked, and said to himself:
– I am afraid that here begins the most complicated part of the trip. Since it’s already noon, I’ll take advantage of the fact that all the animals are eating at home to overcome this challenge as quickly as possible and without making any noise.
The parrot was fit and jumped over the fence with ease, but once inside foreign territory he thought flying the route would make him an easy target to spot. It was safest to go on foot and use the plants to camouflage yourself as you went.
This part of the forest seemed to him more leafy and much quieter than the northern half, always full of parrots who came to chatter all day long. Cautiously, he walked for a long time without seeing anyone and hearing nothing but the sound of his footsteps on the crisp leaves.
Suddenly, he came to a stream.
– ‘How good! With this heat it will be a luxury for me to get wet a little before continuing.’
He put one paw in the water, which was icy by the way, and when he was going to put the other one he noticed that a shiver ran down his spine. His intuition told him that someone, hidden somewhere nearby, was staring at him.
– ‘Oh, no, this is the end!… As a cockatoo caught me I’m lost.’
What could I do?! Unfortunately, only one thing: face the situation in the most courageous and dignified way possible. He turned very slowly with his wings up, and asked:
– Is… is there someone there?
He saw a bush shake like a rattle and, after a few tense moments, he watched in amazement as a very white bird with a coquettish yellow plume on its head emerged from its branches. Our friend felt that he had not seen anything more beautiful in his life.
– ‘Oh, what a beautiful girl!… Am I dreaming?’
He was so still and so stunned that she was the one who had to approach. When they were facing each other, the two young men looked at each other enthralled.
– You must be a green parrot with a yellow neck, one of those that lives on the other side of the fence, right?
The parrot made a goofy face and said:
– And you are a galerita cockatoo!… Do you know that you are beautiful?
She blushed too.
– Thank you, you are very kind, but do you want to explain to me why you are in our forest? You already know that the law prohibits us from setting foot on your land and you on ours.
The poor guy shook his head to come back to reality and got nervous again.
– I know, I know… My goal is to reach the beach before nightfall. It’s risky, but if I want to travel by boat I have to go through here because our part of the forest has no coastline.
– Well, you were lucky to meet me and not a guard! In the afternoons they usually patrol this area, so as long as you don’t hurry it will be a matter of minutes before they catch you.
– I see… What do you advise me to do?
– I’m afraid your only alternative is to dress up as a cockatoo and pass yourself off as one of us.
– Are you kidding?… Don’t make fun of me, please.
The cockatoo lowered its voice.
– I’m serious! You follow me, but keep quiet so they don’t discover us.
The cockatoo tiptoed in a straight line and the parrot, trusting, followed her. Arriving at a place in the forest that seemed just like any other, the beautiful guide gave him a smile and said:
– Here it is!
– Here it is… what?… I don’t see anything!
The cockatoo looked up and pointed to a gigantic tree whose trunk had a hole half covered with leaves.
– Let’s go up there. You will soon understand.
They spread their wings and flew into the hole. The parrot was amazed at what he saw.
– It looks like a flour warehouse!
The cockatoo made a small correction.
– No, it doesn’t look like it: it’s a flour store, one of many in this part of the forest. The flour is kept up here so that rodents, which are gluttons, don’t eat it. Come on, let’s not waste time: roll in it as if you were a croquette!
The parrot instantly understood what she meant. He gathered momentum, threw himself on a plank into the pool of flour, and smeared himself until his green plumage became completely white. The cockatoo was very amused to see him looking like that.
– Oh, how handsome you are!
The parrot also laughed.
– Hahaha! This is crazy, but if you think it can work…
– Of course I think so! Now we just need to make a plume like mine and it occurs to me… I already have it, let’s go!
They stealthily approached a lagoon covered with strange aquatic plants completely unknown to the parrot.
– See those floating flowers? They are called water lilies and their leaves are as yellow and as long as the feathers on my head. With a few I will make a headdress for you. You’re going to be so cute, you’ll see!
Said and done. The resolute cockatoo waded into the lagoon and picked up seven or eight lily pads. In less than a rooster sings he made a very chic feather duster and placed it on the head of the parrot.
Once the outfit was complete, the young man approached the edge of the water to see his reflection.
– But I look like a real cockatoo! Thank you very much for making it possible.
– It was a pleasure helping you. Now you can continue on your way without anyone stopping you, but please, go now! Siesta time is coming to an end and from one moment to the next the southern forest is going to be filled with animals. As someone discovers the deception, you load it!
– I… I… Will I ever see you again?
The yellow-naped green parrot had fallen madly in love with the sweet galerita cockatoo, so he was about to faint when he heard her answer.
– Of course! Look for me around the corner because I’ll be waiting for you.
Realizing that she felt the same way, he dared to give her a loving kiss on the beak.
– I promise you I will do it!
In the midst of a confused mixture of joy and sadness, the parrot and the cockatoo said goodbye.
After the lunch and siesta break, the forest was once again filled with life. Just as her new friend had predicted, beings of all kinds began to emerge from the shadows, including dozens of galeritas cockatoos. A huge ruckus ensued and the parrot in disguise had to work to keep calm and show off his acting skills. Without erasing the smile from his mouth and imitating the gestures and the graceful way of moving of the white birds, he went through the forest without anyone noticing that he was an impostor.
His costume was so good and he did it so well that many cockatoos greeted him thinking he was one of them. He had no choice but to respond with a “Hello” or a “Good afternoon” so as not to raise suspicions.
And so, controlling his fears, he managed to control the situation and reach the wall that ended the southern forest. When he saw it, his heart began to beat at full speed.
– The wall!… I have reached the wall!… One last effort and I will be out of danger!
He was too tired to fly that he preferred to climb it as if he were a climber. A minute later he reached the top and stuck his head out. Although the light was already scarce, he could see an immense beach and in the background the sea, infinite and blue.
– Bravo, bravo, I have achieved it! The plan has worked!
He slid down the opposite side like a slide, stumbling across the golden sand until he launched himself into the water. As soon as she submerged, the flour that covered her body dissolved and the little lily pads on her headdress swept away in the breeze. It was an incredible feeling to see his feathers return to the magnificent green color that he was so proud of.
Once clean and dry, he looked for a sheltered place to spend the night. It had been a day full of emotions and she needed to rest to start the new stage of her journey with courage! Lulled by the sound of the waves, he reflected on how lucky he was to be able to fulfill his dream of traveling, but his last thought, the most emotional and profound before falling asleep, was for the cute and loving cockatoo that had captured his heart.