[In the competition for the “Express” prize forty parrots had learnt to say the silly motto, “Your food will cost you more.” 1]


From retirement briskly flying 2
Came The Parrot loudly crying,
For his feelings were quite shattered,
And his pride was very sore.
For, without his own permission,
Forty parrots, in addition
To himself, had learnt to gabble
That “Your food will cost you more.”

Gone his splendid isolation,
Since those birds of humble station,
Never asking for a licence,
Did his copyright ignore.
He’d have heard with satisfaction
That by instant legal action
They’d been stayed from repetition
Of “Your food will cost you more.”

When dear Winston went and said it;
When Hugh Cecil took the credit
Of inventing such a motto;
When the Public Orator
Mentioned it in all his speeches—
Then indeed The Parrot screeches
With delight to find that quoted
Is “Your food will cost you more.”

But this funny competition
Stops the free-food politician
From suggesting in the future
What The Parrot answers for.
And The Bird it quite enrages
To observe that things in cages
Are the only ones that utter
That “Your food will cost you more.”


The Express announced on 18 November that the £25 prize had been won by a Mr Frederick Thomas of Highgate, whose 5-year-old West African parrot had uttered the phrase clearly three times in front of the paper’s representatives. The paper said that over the previous two days it had received at least 40 letters from all parts of the country from readers who claimed that their parrots could repeat “the absurd phrase”.


The Parrot had not appeared for five days.

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