PIGEON

" ... I obtained another pet from the Rose Beetle Man. This time it was a pigeon. He was still very young and had to be force-fed on bread-and-milk and soaked corn. He was the most revolting bird to look at, with his feathers pushing through the wrinkled scarlet skin, mixing with the yellow down that covers baby pigeons, and makes them look as though they have been peroxiding their hair. Owing to his repulsive and obese appearance, Larry suggested we call him Quasimodo and, liking the name without realising the implications, I agreed. For a long time after he could feed himself, and when all his feathers had grown, Quasimodo retained a sprig of yellow down on his head which gave him the appearance of a rather pompous judge  wearing a wig several sizes too small."

MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS © Gerald Durrell 1956

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