‘Wants her jewel case?’ Aunt Cora said.
‘Jewel case? Nothing so sensible,’ bawled Mr Mason. ‘She wanted to go back for her damned parrot. I won’t allow it.’ She did not answer, only fought him silently, twisting like a cat and showing her teeth.
Our parrot was called Coco, a green parrot. He didn’t talk very well, he could say Qui est là? Qui est là? and answer himself Ché Coco, Ché Coco. After Mr Mason clipped his wings he grew very bad tempered and though he would sit quietly on my mother’s shoulder he darted at everyone who came near her and pecked their feet.
‘Annette,’ said Aunt Cora. ‘They are laughing at you, do not allow them to laugh at you.’ She stopped fighting then and he half supported her, half pulled her after us, cursing loudly.
(…)The yells stopped.
I opened my eyes, everybody was looking up and pointing at Coco on the glacis railing with his feathers alight. He made an effort to fly down but his clipped wings failed him and he fell screeching. He was all on fire.
I heard someone say something about bad luck and remembered that it was very unlucky to kill a parrot, or even see a parrot die.
—Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, Part I