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Tristis is a fascinating a story about a bird, a goldfinch with a brilliant human-like mind who observed human activities and tried to emulate them including building a house that burned down when he tried to cook in it. He also debates with a blue bird who tries to slow him down. The story suggests that the bird took the many photos and told the author the story of the book.

In reality, the very unique photos the book contains were taken by the author, my father in the 1930s using a blind and 4X6 black and white camera and wild birds that he was able to partially tame to picture them in human-like activities.

Tristis ultimately fails in his efforts to live like a human and the story ends with his realization that “only by being himself could he find happiness” – a moral that all of us could appreciate.