A Simple Soul
He was called Loulou. His body was green, his head blue, the tips of his wings were pink
and his breast was golden.
But he had the tiresome tricks of biting his perch, pulling his feathers out, scattering
refuse and spilling the water of his bath. Madame Aubain grew tired of him and gave him
to Felicite for good.
She undertook his education, and soon he was able to repeat: "Pretty boy! Your servant,
sir! I salute you, Marie!" His perch was placed near the door and several persons were
astonished that he did not answer to the name of "Jacquot," for every parrot is called
Jacquot. They called him a goose and a log, and these taunts were like so many dagger
thrusts to Felicite. Strange stubbornness of the bird which would not talk when people
Nevertheless, he sought society; for on Sunday, when the ladies Rochefeuille, Monsieur
de Houppeville and the new habitues, Onfroy, the chemist, Monsieur Varin and Captain
Mathieu, dropped in for their game of cards, he struck the window-panes with his wings
and made such a racket that it was impossible to talk.
Bourais' face must have appeared very funny to Loulou. As soon as he saw him he would
begin to roar. His voice re-echoed in the yard, and the neighbours would come to the
windows and begin to laugh, too; and in order that the parrot might not see him,
Monsieur Bourais edged along the wall, pushed his hat over his eyes to hide his profile,
and entered by the garden door, and the looks he gave the bird lacked affection. Loulou,
having thrust his head into the butcher-boy's basket, received a slap, and from that time
he always tried to nip his enemy. Fabu threatened to ring his neck, although he was not
cruelly inclined, notwithstanding his big whiskers and tattooings. On the contrary, he
rather liked the bird, and, out of devilry, tried to teach him oaths. Felicite, whom his
manner alarmed, put Loulou in the kitchen, took off his chain and let him walk all over
When he went downstairs, he rested his beak on the steps, lifted his right foot and then
his left one; but his mistress feared that such feats would give him vertigo. He became ill
and was unable to eat. There was a small growth under his tongue like those chickens are
sometimes afflicted with. Felicite pulled it off with her nails and cured him. One day,
Paul was imprudent enough to blow the smoke of his cigar in his face; another time,
Madame Lormeau was teasing him with the tip of her umbrella and he swallowed the tip.
Finally he got lost.
She had put him on the grass to cool him and went away only for a second; when she
returned, she found no parrot! She hunted among the bushes, on the bank of the river, and
on the roofs, without paying any attention to Madame Aubain who screamed at her:
"Take care! you must be insane!" Then she searched every garden in Pont-l'Eveque and