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    Contrary to legend, Louis's daily tot of brandy was for "medicinal purposes."

    NewsParrot NewsTuesday 18 October 2011
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    Canada

    One could write a book - someone probably has - about strange bequests. More than one last will and testament has bedevilled and bemused, and one in particular that intrigued Victorians for many years, was that of Miss Victoria Wilson who, at the time of her death in 1949, owned an old mansion on some of the primest of real estate in downtown Victoria.

    Described as a "kindly if eccentric spinster," she remembered the Royal Jubilee Hospital and the Red Cross Society in her will. And her parrot, Louis.

    Unfortunately, in the minds of some, the mollycoddled macaw came first. He was to live out his life in the big house on Courtney Street under the tender care of Yue Wah Wong, her longtime manservant; only upon Louis's death were the property and remaining monies to be passed on to the Jubilee and the Red Cross.

    The problem, for them, was that parrots can live for a very long time. Louis, at the time of his mistress's passing, was thought to be a mere 87 years old - barely middle-aged.

    Things really began to a boil in November 1966 when A.C. Wurtele, Royal Jubilee board chairman, publicly declared that he thought it wrong that a bird should come before people. Miss Wilson's cash estate, originally almost $60,000, had diminished to little more than $20,000 since her death and it was costing $4,000 annually to maintain Louis in the manner to which he'd become accustomed.

    Then it was reported, reliably this time, that Louis had been moved from the Wilson manse. This came from Mrs. Yue Wah Wong, wife of Louis's appointed custodian, who would only say that he was no longer residing on Courtney Street. She promised that "when things are settled" the full story would be told. Coincidental to the parrot's being moved it was reported that the Royal Jubilee and the Red Cross were to receive the balance of the Wilson bequest immediately. Wah Wong's death, a month later, suggests what did happen behind the scenes. The weathered white Wilson mansion bit the dust in 1967 and, for years, the Parrot House Restaurant, part of the subsequent development, marked the site of Louis's home. The Hallmark Society of Victoria, which was born of the loss of the Wilson mansion, has since instituted the Louis Award for notable examples of heritage preservation.

    There followed years of speculation as to Louis's continuing state of health and his whereabouts, public interest being in no way dampened by the estate's lawyer's declaration that Louis's daily tot of brandy was "a hell of a good yarn... Truth is, Louis might have consumed a mickey in the past four years - for medicinal purposes only - when his feathers have been ruffled. It's a good medicine for any bird."

    Louis is supposed to have passed away, aged 115 years, in 1985.

     

    Source: Canada.com

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