The Stranger and the Bird

bystander: little bird, do you feel sad and lonely that you are in a cage?

the little bird cocks its head, looks up at the speaker and pauses for a moment before answering
“mm, I suppose, but not nearly as sad as I feel for you. You are far more caged.” the little bird tweeted.

The man was puzzled. Surely this little bird had something wrong with its head. It was clear as night was from day that the bird was the one in a cage and not the man. But, the man decided to humour the bird, so he ventured a second question: “Little bird, pray tell, how am I caged?; for I see it not. Please do enlighten me.”

The little bird stopped pecking at its food, hopped about a little on its perch before finding a suitable position to commence answering. “Well,..” it said. “Do you see the cage I am in?”
“Yes.” answered the man.
“Do you see anything about you?”
The man figured the bird was referring to cages, and thus proceeded to reply as such.
“No, I do not. I have already told you that.”

“Patience my friend, patience” replied the bird.
“Look over there” said the bird. “Do you see the empty fields of grass beside the pavement?”

The man frowned.
“Yes, I do. Why?”

“Why do you not walk on them?”

“Why, there are pavements of course!”

“So will you not walk where there are no paths marked for you at all?”

“But…” said the man, trying to collect his thoughts.

“Ah, you see, you are no less caged than I. The cages imposed on me at least are of the physical realm. They are easy enough to navigate, and feel, and see. But yours my dear friend, your cages are cages that cannot be touched. They exist only in your mind. Am I then not more fortunate that my cages, while apparent, are for the same reason that much easier to deal with?”

At a loss for words, the man sat down for awhile and mulled over these new pieces of information. After a great deal of time, the man, almost as if in a daze, proceeded to unhinge the latch holding the door of the bird’s cage from its place. The bird, having been let out of its cage, ruffled its feathers appreciatively before flying a short distance to the edge of the pavement. Hopping off the edge of the pavement, the bird chirped happily, and beckoned for the stranger, now become friend, to follow.

penned. 20/02/2014 2:42am

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