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John Silver had trained seven birds to speak certain statements that were, in actuality, clues that led to the place where he had hidden the painting he had smuggled from England.[1] The birds were Little Bo-Peep, Billy Shakesphere, Blackbeard, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Captain Kidd, and Scarface, in the order the birds' speechs were to be arranged for solving the riddles.[2] All the birds were parrots, except Blackbeard, who was a mynah.[3]


After John Silver had fled to California after smuggling the painting of the shepherdess, he started living in Ramos Sanchez's house. After getting an idea from the picture that was painted above the shepherdess' painting, Silver bought seven parrots with "pretty yellow heads" and seven cages. He then began teaching them their speeches, or riddles.[4]

After Silver had died, Sanchez waited for the "fat man" who Silver said would come. However, Claudius didn't come, and all the parrots were sold to different people, for money for Silver's funeral.[4]


After Claudius came to know that Sanchez had sold he parrots, and after Sanchez told him the neighbourhood where he had sold them, Claudius was able to buy three parrots from their owners, including Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, and Captain Kidd. However, the three parrots refused to speak. Afraid that the owner of Billy wouldn't sell him, he stole Billy. He also stole Bo-Peep.[5]

Skinny Norris bought Scarface from his owner, in order to hinder The Three Investigators in their investigation.[6] He also informed Huganay about his speech.[7]

Some time later, Skinny Norris helped Huganay find the parrots Claudius had, and take them for himself.[7]

After the mystery was solved, Bo-Peep and Billy were returned to their respective owners.[8]


  • Blackbeard knew, and could speak all the riddles spoken by the other birds, along with his own riddle. This was because Silver used to keep Blackbeard on his shoulder when he taught the other parrots.[9]


See also[]