Ungerer loves outsiders: Crictor
is about a kind snake, and Flix
is a dog born to a pair of cats. Orlando
, which I found today at Librairie du Boulevard while looking for something else, shows that even vultures can be heroes. The eponymous bird comes across an American gold prospector dying of thirst in the Mexican desert. He's scrawled something on a bit of paper and put a handful of gold nuggets on top next to a picture of his wife and son. Orlando cleverly wraps it all up in the prospector's bandana, picks up the bundle, tracks down someone who can read English, and conveys the letter to the prospector's home in Vermont.
After further adventures, including a fight with some dastardly bandits, it all ends happily! The newly rich prospector is reunited with his family and Orlando becomes the only popular vulture in Mexico. Ungerer tells the story in his usual deadpan style. Here's the opening scene...