Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for Flamingo Pink

Man, finding a color for every letter is harder than I thought. Here, have some pink.

Flamingo pink, once again, is officially a color, as weird as it sounds (I apologize to all the male readers that only ever wish to distinguish 16 basic colors, bear with me.)
While I could not find a myth or folktale about the flamingo and its color, there is a delightful tale that I can include here. While most websites will tell you it is an "Argentinian folktale," it was actually written about a hundred years ago by an author called Horacio Quiroga, from Uruguay. His book, Cuentos de la selva, is a great read. As a storyteller, I have no problem telling tales that migrated from literature into oral tradition. That is the nature of good stories.

According to this one, the animals of the jungle decided to have a dance party. All of them put on their best colors and dresses, except for the flamingos, who are not particularly smart. Looking for something colorful to wear, they decided they were going to accentuate their lovely long legs with some colorful stockings. They went for help to Owl, who just happened to have some prime accessories lying around, and gladly handed them over; but he also warned the flamingos not to stop dancing at the party. The birds put on their brand new yellow-red-black striped stockings, and went to show them off.
Eventually, of course, they had to stop dancing. When they did, there was a scream from the corner where the snakes were hanging out: Some of them recognized the skin of their recently lost relatives in the "stockings" of the flamingos. Owl had hunted some snakes, and had the skins lying around the house. He sold coral snake skins for stockings.
The snakes took revenge on the flamingos by biting them repeatedly (as you should, when someone shows up wearing your uncle's skin for a stocking). The flamingos fled to the river and cooled their wounds in the water. In fact, they have been living there ever since, soaking their poison-red legs.
Moral of the story: Don't wear a coral snake as a stocking. Also, flamingos are not very smart birds.

Read the original story here.


  1. Poor flamingoes, it was hardly their fault, but also poor snakes, not pleasant to see your relatives worn as tights!
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  2. That seems slightly unfair to the flamingos; the snakes should have gone after owl!
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  3. What a wonderful story about Flamingo Pink! Totally enjoyable. Good that the snakes took their due revenge. But I felt sorry for the flamingoes too :(
    You really are a very good story-teller.

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  4. I marvel at the creativity and imagination of the person who came up with this story, Horacio. It's like he got up one day and said, I need a story about flamingos... for the children!!

    The Owl should have warned the flamingos. But then I guess he wouldn't have much of a business.

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  5. Very interesting theme! I'll be interested to read the other snippets you find about color in stories. Stopping by from the A-Z and your newest follower.

  6. Mine is also a shade of pink today! This was a fun story. The Owl really played with both of them Meany... :)

  7. A delightful story though a tad unfair on the flamingos, the owl was the mean one. Visiting from the A-Z.
    Best wishes,

  8. Poor Flamingo! Vanity does us all in, one way or another.

    Visiting from the A 2 Z challenge. Love the choice for F.

  9. Seems like everyone loses in this story, except for Owl. The snakes and flamingos should have teamed up to mete out some justice. ;)

    Cute story though, and I love that picture of the flamingo bathing in the water!

  10. Cute, sounds almost like a Rudyard Kipling story!

  11. LOL I wrote about Flamingos on my A post because in Alaska it is illegal to bring your flamingo into the barber shop in Juneau.

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  13. What a cute story!
    Seems the flamingos got the bad end of it all...