The whole story is about Félicité Barette, who works for fifty years as Madame Aubain's maid. All of Madame Aubain's friends are jealous of her because Félicité is a really good servant.
The only information we get about Félicité's early life is that she had her heart broken by a guy named Théodore, who ran off and married a rich woman to avoid the military draft, leaving her high and dry. The next day she starts working for Madame Aubain and never looks back.
Félicité is crazy about Madame Aubain's daughter, Virginie, and about her own nephew, Victor. Victor signs on to an ocean voyage and dies of yellow fever in Cuba, to Félicité's utter dismay. Virginie dies at boarding school of pneumonia, which breaks both Félicité's and Madame Aubain's hearts.
Félicité inherits a parrot named Loulou, and after he dies she has him stuffed. Madame Aubain dies, and Félicité remains in her room, impoverished and deaf. She gets very sick until one day she dies, with a vision of Loulou as the Holy Spirit greeting her in heaven. A parrot at the pearly gates? What is this, Jumanji?