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The Canary and the Pearls

Updated: Sep 3, 2022

One day, a man caught a canary.

“What do you want with me?” the canary asked the man. “Look at my tiny head, and my tiny beak. What use can I be to you? Set me free, and I will teach you three useful truths.”

“Three truths?”

“Yes. We will do it like this: I’ll tell you the first one as you hold me in your hand. I will tell you the second one when I will be safe on a branch of that tree over there. And I will tell you the third as I fly over that hill in the distance.”

“It’s a deal,” the man said, curious about what useful truths might a canary have.

And so the canary told him the first truth.

“If you lose something, no matter how precious it is, do not waste a single moment of your life pining for it.”

True to his word, the man let the canary loose from his hand. As it reached the branch, it spoke its second truth: "If you hear something hard to believe, do not waste a single moment of your life believing it unless you've seen some proof.”

The canary took flight towards the top of hill.

“What is the third truth?” the man cried from down below.

“The truth is,” the bird said, “that I have two huge pearls inside me, each weighing more than a pound. If you had killed me, they would be yours now.”

The man fell to the ground and bit his nails until he reached flesh. At that moment he heard the mocking laughter of the canary.

“You think it’s fun to laugh at me, you deceitful little bird?” the man cried.

“I laugh because you are a fool,” the canary replied. “I told you to never regret a thing lost, but that’s exactly what you’re doing. I told you to never believe something out of the ordinary without having proof. But I told you that I have two pearls each weighing more than a pound, while my whole body does not weight a tenth of that, and you believed me. Goodbye, fool.”

As the bird faded into the bright sky, the man kept wondering what was the third truth he had been promised to hear.

after Jean-Claude Carrière

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