Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Yesteryear’s tales

ParrotOur Christmas card this year features our neighbourhood parrot. We’d never met him until the recent day when he was having an airing out on the street. Maybe it’s because of the brilliant redness of his feathers – for red is the colour of holly berries and also of Father Christmas’s robe – that we thought about him for our e-card. To go with the card and its greetings, here’s a parrot story I loved first hearing when I was a child and have always loved remembering since.

A very steep hill:

From the town of Fishguard where I was born, a very steep hill leads down to the beach which stretches across to the harbour in the small twin town of Goodwick. At one time, according to my Aunty Mali, the road to Goodwick went straight down over that very steep hill. So whether you walked or were driving a pony and trap, that is the way you had to go. And at the bottom of the hill, you’d pass by the little cottage which was owned by an old woman who kept a parrot that was a very good mimic. Often on days of good weather, she’d hang the parrot-cage outside her front door so the parrot could have an airing.

Well, up in Fishguard there was a man with a horse and cart who used to organise to take groups of people down to Goodwick on little jaunts to the beach. When it came time to go down the hill on any of these occasions, he’d pause his horse at the top of the hill so he could insert small wooden wedges to act as brakes on the wheels of the cart.

A very mischievous parrot:

On one particular occasion, the man had safely steered his horse down the hill from Fishguard with the cart full of laughing women who were on their way for an afternoon on the beach. At the bottom of the hill, he paused as usual to remove the wooden wedges from where he’d jammed them against the wheels. This time, the wedges had become extremely hot from the friction of the journey and while the man was working away to remove them from the wheels, the parrot started piping up. It had obviously recognised the horse and the noise it came out with was its excellent imitation of the clicking sound the horse’s owner always produced – an equivalent of Giddy-up – when he wanted to get the horse moving.

‘Giddy-up, giddy-up,’ clicked the parrot. And the horse obeyed at once, setting off at a rate of knots. Within seconds, the cart was swaying giddily from side to side, the women inside were screaming and sparks were flying out from the wheels of the cart. The horse’s owner had to run like mad to catch up with his horse and bring it to a halt before the cart went up in flames.

Naughty parrot! I loved hearing this story about him and also about what the parrot would say whenever a courting couple passed by, namely ‘Kiss ‘er, Kiss’er!’

A very warm wish:

Oh, the simple pleasures of yesteryear. I suppose these are the kinds of daft, lovely stories that often get remembered over Christmas dinners up and down the land when the older and younger generations get together. Maybe you’ll remember some yourself.

But whether you remember old stories or not, I do hope your Christmas will be happy and peaceful. Next week, after the Christmas days are over, I’ll probably be too well-fed and maybe too somnolent to write very much in this blog. Maybe there’ll just be a lovely Welsh view, who knows?

Happy Christmas! Nadolig Llawen!


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3 Responses to “Storytelling Starters ~ Yesteryear’s tales”

  1. Meg Says:

    A very vivid fun image from a bygone time, Mary. Thank you. Wishing you a Merry Christmas. Was just thinking that a card from here, should give out the sound of cicadas when you open it – they are so loud this morning! Kind Regards from Meg

  2. Swati Kakodkar Says:

    What a vividly described story. Very funny indeed.
    Thanks for your lovely blogs.
    And may this Christmas bring good health, peace and many joyous monents to you and your family.

  3. Swati Kakodkar Says:

    What a vividly described story. Very funny indeed.
    Thanks for your lovely blogs.
    And may this Christmas bring good health, peace and many joyous moments to you and your family.

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