The bird that flew free

A wealthy merchant had a beautiful talking bird. He was very fond of it and always locked it up in a cage for fear of losing it. The bird gradually stopped learning new stories and songs to tell the merchant. Even so, because it had a sweet voice and pleasing manners, the merchant continued to love it.

After a few years, business took the merchant to the bird's homeland. He told the bird that he was going to its homeland and asked if there was anything he could do for the bird in return for its beauty and many years of service to him. The bird responded excitedly, asking to come along on the journey. The merchant did not agree, fearing that the precious bird would be stolen or find a way to escape.

The bird then asked the merchant if he would take a message to the bird's family, to which he readily agreed. The bird asked the merchant to inform its family that it was captured and kept in a cage to entertain its master. Further, the bird asked the merchant to inquire of his family how it could continue to flourish while living in the cage.

The merchant travelled to the bird's homeland and went into the jungle in search of the bird's family, seeking to keep his promise. After some time, he found the bird's family and conveyed the message to them. Upon hearing of the bird's captivity and request, all of the bird's family fell, out of the trees and onto the ground, as if dead. The sight of the birds dropping to the ground horrified the merchant.

Upon returning home, he gently informed his bird of what had happened in the jungle. Upon hearing the story, the bird immediately dropped still upon the floor of its cage. The merchant assumed that the shock of hearing such a sad story had killed the bird. He carefully opened the cage, removed the bird, and gently placed it upon the table as he prepared for its burial. As soon as the merchant's hands were off, the bird flew up and out of the window.

As the bird was flying away, the angry merchant asked it to explain the events. The bird calmly replied, "My family was giving you a message for me. In response to my question of how I could continue to flourish while imprisoned in this cage, they showed me the way to freedom, which was to pretend to be dead, so you would take me out of the cage."

Moral: In the above story the bird achieved freedom by using its intellect correctly. Similarly we, too, can achieve freedom from all our worries and troubles by using our intellect to undertake regular spiritual practice.