ANTHONY GOTTLIEB “My Parrot, My Self” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/books/review/Gottlieb-t.html
In 2006, newspapers reveled in the tale of Ziggy, an 8-year-old parrot in Britain who exposed the secret affair that his owner’s girlfriend was conducting with a man called Gary. Ziggy made kissing sounds when the name Gary was spoken on TV and said, “Hiya, Gary,” when the girlfriend’s cellphone rang. She broke down and confessed after Ziggy said, “I love you, Gary,” in an imitation of her voice. The revelation of female infidelity is in fact an ancient staple of parrot literature. In a 13th-century Spanish folk tale, which derives from an earlier Arabic one, a suspicious husband buys a parrot in order to keep an eye on his wife while he is away. Upon returning from his travels, he questions the bird, who reports that the wife was indeed visited by a lover. But she triumphs by tricking the husband into believing that the parrot is a liar, and he has it killed.
In a medieval French version of the tale, there are three parrot-spies, only one of which survives, by prudently assuring the wife that he has the wisdom to know when to remain silent. A modern variation on this theme — in a story by Robert Olen Butler, published in The New Yorker in 1995 — has a husband climb a tree to observe his wife in an act of infidelity. He falls to his death and is reincarnated as a parrot, which the wife then purchases from a pet store.