by Dayawathie Rankoth

I grew up in the village of Bowalawatta, which is high in the hills above Kandy, Sri Lanka, on Hirasegela Road. When I was 15 years old, my brother went hunting in the jungle trying to catch something for dinner. He found a little newborn bird in its nest. The little bird's mother had flown. My brother brought the bird home to me. I took care of the little bird and raised it up. We call this bird Myna.

I taught the little bird how to talk Singhala, but I did not teach the little bird how to talk Tamil.

My myna bird grew up to be big and strong. We kept the bird in the house, but every morning at 10:00 AM the bird went out to take a bath in the birdbath.
My Mynah Bird

One morning at 10:00 AM, a man from a bank in Kandy came by my house and saw my myna bird taking a bath. The man said to my mother, "That is a nice bird. I would like to buy that bird. I will pay you 500 rupees for the bird."

My mother told the man from the bank to ask me, because it was my bird. I told the man that I would never sell the bird, because I had raised up the bird from the time that it was a baby.

So, the man asked my mother where did I get the bird from. My mother told him that I got it from my brother.

Then, the man asked my brother to sell him the bird for 500 rupees. My brother told the man that he could not sell it, because it was my bird.

Sometimes, in my village, the Tiger come in the night. The Tiger kill a lot of people in my village of Bowalawatta.

That night at about midnight, there was a knock on the door. Nobody answered. Nobody said anything. We knew that it might be the Tiger.

Every night we put the Myna bird in a cage. We covered the cage with a black cloth, so that the myna bird could not see. But, the myna bird could talk. He did not know any better.

So, when there came a knock on the door, my myna bird said: "Open the door. Open the door."

The man kept knocking and my myna bird kept saying real loud, "Open the door. Open the door."

So, what could my mother do? Finally, she opened the door.

There was a man at the door wearing a mask. He had a gun. We all put our hands up. He came in the house. He looked around. Finally, he said, "Where's the bird."

As soon as he spoke, my mother recognized his voice. He was the man from the bank. He was not any kind of Tiger. When the Tigers come, they come at least 4 or 5. This man, we suddenly realized, was all alone. Nobody else was there.

My mother said, "I know who you are, and you can not have the bird."

The man did not say anything. He just ran out the door and disappeared into the night.

The next day, my mother went to that bank. The man was not there. We never saw that man again.

My myna bird is still alive today and living in my mother's house in Bowalawatta. He is 14 years old now. I spoke to my bird the other day on the telephone.

This is a true story.

Rankoth Pedigedera Dayawathie

UPDATE: Nowadays, with Dayawathie in America, her mother Ukkuamma Rankoth, is taking care of the Mynah Bird. However, Ukkuamma says that the bird is old now. He rarely talks except when spoken to. His feathers are turning white too. He is still alive but will probably not live much longer. He is about 15 years old now.

UPDATE: Sad News: The Myna Bird died in March, 2004, after living for 18 years.
Here is a Mynah Bird story:

At 02:47 PM 10/28/99 -0400, (WILLIAM GEIGER) wrote:

About 20 years ago, my father and I took our dog to the veterinarian for medical help. In the waiting room were other pets and their owners. Also, attached to a coffee table, was a cage containing the vet's myna bird.

The myna bird meowed like a cat. The cats seemed uninterested. However, the dogs found this disturbing. Some of them barked at the bird.

The bird barked back, which really distressed the dogs, making them bark ever louder. The bird responded, "SHUT UP!" The poor dogs did not know what to make of this.

You already know that the bird learned these sounds from the cats, dogs and owners that came in nearly every day.

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