The King and Queen of Siam had many daughters. In order to avoid confusion, the King called the princesses by the name of the months like January, February, March etc. The last daughter was named September.
The King of Siam had a peculiar habit. Instead of accepting birthday gifts, he used to give everyone gifts. One year on his birthday, he gave each one of the princesses a green parrot in a golden cage. The princesses taught the bird to say; “God save the king”; some of the parrots would say, “Pretty polly” in seven oriental languages.
One day Princess September found her parrot lying dead. She burst into tears. The Queen called her crying nonsense and put her to bed without any supper. Princess September was woken up by the song of a little bird. He (bird) flew into her room and sang beautifully. Princess September forgot crying. She agreed to have it in place of her dead parrot.
When the princess awoke the next day, the little song bird was still there and he said ‘Good morning!’ He ate rice out of her hand. Everybody was surprised to see that. Princess September decided to show her bird to her eight sisters. For each of them the bird sang a different song. The parrots could only say “God Save the King”. The King and the queen were also surprised and delighted to hear the bird’s song.
The King had got tired of hearing those parrots say “Pretty Polly”.
All the eight princesses were worried now. The parrots also looked sad. Only Princess September ran in the palace singing like a lark.
The jealous sisters took a nasty decision. They pointed out to their youngest sister that she should put her bird into a cage lest he should fly away for good.
The little bird came late that evening. September’s worry was about his safety from hawks and the hunter’s traps. So as he came, she pushed him into a cage and shut the door. The bird was taken aback. He hoped that he would be set free in the morning. But he cried in vain for liberty. As a result, he lost his singing talent. He refused to eat anything.
The next day September found the bird lying with his eyes closed. He looked as if he were dead. Seeing his condition, she agreed to let him leave the golden cage. And the bird promised to return to her every day and sing to her. Her sisters made fun of her. They said he would never return. But he did, at last. And he sat on September’s shoulder and ate out of his hand and sang her the beautiful songs he had learned.
September kept her window open all day and night for the bird to fly in and out. Fresh air from the open window made the princess extremely beautiful. She was married to the king of Cambodia. But her sisters who kept the windows shut, grew ugly as well as unpleasant. So they were married away with the King’s ministers.