A Fable

By on Feb 13, 2014 in Cuttings, Fiction

Bird in golden cage

Once there was a bird. She was the finest of birds. She was all of the things that make birds desirable to us mere humans. She was quick-witted. She loved to laugh. She was kind beyond kindness. She was strong, yet delicate. Even though her heart had been wounded, she found a way to rise above. Her beauty, obvious on the outside, had its origin from within. In short, she was a bird among birds. She was one to be recognized on her own merits. She didn’t sing very much, for even though she had a wonderful voice, she had been told that it wasn’t acceptable. 

One day a weary traveler knocked on the door. The lord of the manor, usually gone off on very important matters, was at home. He answered the door to let the stranger enter. “May I have some water?” the stranger asked. “May I rest here for a bit?” The lord granted this simple request. Refreshed and rested, the man asked many questions. They spoke of many things.

After a short  conversation, the lord realized that this visitor was different from any other who had come before. He couldn’t put his finger on the problem. But he knew this man was dangerous. He did not like the visitor. But, trying to be gracious, the lord offered to show the man around. It was a favorite activity of the lord to show off the many treasures which adorned his manor house. “Here is my collection of vehicles. If it has a motor, I have one or two. I only buy the best.” The stranger didn’t say anything. And so it went. From one end of the manor to the other. The richness of the things therein was shown and explained. The stranger had no comment.

Finally, the lord opened the locked door to a room at the back of the manor. The door swung wide as he pushed it in. No lights were on. “It’s better if she’s kept in the dark,” the lord said. But to make his point, he turned on a very bright light. “Now, you’ll see something,” he offered. There in the middle of the room was something covered by a large cloth. The lord yanked it away, and there was the bird. She was in a circular gold cage. “See how fine a cage I gave her?” the lord said. 

The stranger wasn’t listening anymore, for his eyes had locked with the bird’s eyes. The pain of confinement was evident. “Such — a — beauty,” the stranger stammered. He moved forward . He reached for the latch to the cage. 

The lord stopped him, saying, “NO, she may only come out when I say so. I am the lord of the manor.”  

“Sir, I mean you no disrespect, but what do you think would happen if that cage door was opened?” 

“Well, she would get away,” replied the lord.

“Sir, you are wrong. One of three things will happen. If you open that door, she might just sit there. That would be a tragedy for everyone. It would mean you have broken her spirit. She would not be the same wild beautiful thing that she once had been. Her feathers would have no luster.

“The second thing that could happen is that she would fly out as quickly as possible. She would find the open door or window and she would never come back. If that happens, she was never yours to begin with. The finest manor with the finest gold cage could not hold her.

“The third thing that may happen is this: She may fly out of that cage. She may fly around the room, and she may land on your shoulder. You should learn one thing. A heart cannot be sequestered. If she was with me, she would be beside me, for that is the only place love can grow.”  

The stranger left quickly. The lord of the manor was dumbfounded. His hand reached for the latch on the cage. And the bird, that wonderful bird without equal, hopped to the edge of the cage door. She cautiously extended her neck beyond the shiny golden ring of the cage.


Born in Illinois, Wes Oldham is a long-time resident of Arkansas. He works as a computer technician. He enjoys gardening, fishing, brewing beer and reading. Having his life partner, Regina, in his life has turned night to day. He marvels at the human race. He watches and learns. He is astounded.


  1. Congratulations Bud!!! I absolutely love this small piece. Keep writing!

  2. I love this sweet story! I think you are an amazing writer. Keep it up!

  3. An intriguing and beautifully written story. Well done!

  4. A wonderful story Bud! And indeed, a loving heart cannot be sequestered. Love your stories!

  5. Enjoyed the story! Looking forward to your next one.

  6. Sorry, left off my question. Great story, but why did the stranger leave so quickly?

  7. Bud, thank you for including me on your list. We must have a part two. Love your stories. This world needs artist like you. Keep sharing!!!!