Abdu’l-Bahá - Animals

A cat purring beside His chair would amuse Him: this cat, He remarked, is indeed joyous, so carefree, so free of fear.

H. M. Balyuzi, 'Abdul'l-Baha: The Centre of the Covenant of Baha'u'llah, p. 415

One of interesting incidents I remember well is about a parrot which was presented to the Master. He had put it in the Pilgrim House. My uncle, who was the steward of the Pilgrim House taught the parrot to say ‘Allah-u-Abhá’ to whoever approached it. Also, he had trained it to say, ‘say, say, say O Bahá.’ The people, who heard the parrot’s voice and didn’t see it, thought that a person was there. One day ‘Abdu’l-Bahá called my uncle and told him, ‘Muhammad Hassan, bring the parrot to me tomorrow. I intend to present it to the governor of Akka.’ Muhammad Hassan took the cage containing the parrot to the Holy House and put it beside the window of the hall. His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá used to get up early morning, walk for a while and would chant prayers while walking. When, that day, He got up and approached the cage of the parrot, it said, ‘say, say.’ The Master was very happy and, smiling, advanced towards to parrot and asked, ‘what should I say?’ The parrot said, ‘O Bahá!’ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá exulted too much and later told my uncle, ‘Hassan, this parrot saved itself. Since it said to me, “say, say” and when I asked it what to say, it fluently said, “Say O Bahá!” Take it back to the Pilgrim House. I do not desire to send it out of this place.’ When the parrot was dead, my uncle took its feathers and wrote down, ‘these are the feathers of a parrot which belonged to His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and He has admired several times its fluency.’ This was the effects of training which had some positive outcomes even for a parrot.

Persian Source: Ahang-i-Badi, vol. 29, no. 327, p. 37

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was first in Chicago it, was Spring and He was eager to go to the zoo. He had never seen a large city zoo, and He was very merry over the prospect. Then it was explained to Him that, this being the Spring of the year, most of the animal-mothers would be bearing litters and, at the first approach of a stranger, they'd rush their babies into safe hiding. This did not perturb ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at all. He wanted to go anyhow. So a group of five or six of the Friends took Him. He motioned to them to stay a little behind and He went forward all alone. And, as He approached each cage, the small animal-mother brought out all her babies to show Him, then hurried them back to safety and protection from the following Friends.

Reginald Grant Barrow, Mother's Stories: Stories of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Early Believers told by Muriel Ives Barrow Newhall to her son, p. 38-39