Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sufi Tale

The Indian Bird

A merchant had a bird in a cage. He was going to India, the land from which the bird came, and asked him whether he could bring anything back for him. The bird asked for his freedom, but was refused. So he asked the merchant to visit a jungle in India and announce his captivity to the free birds who were there.

The merchant did so, and no sooner had he spoken than a wild bird, just like his own, fell senseless out of a tree on to the ground. The merchant thought that this must be a relative of his own bird, and felt sad that he should have caused this death.

When he got home, the bird asked him whether he had brought good news from India. ‘No,’ said the merchant, ‘I fear that my news is bad. One of your relations collapsed and fell at my feet as soon as I mentioned your captivity.'

As soon as these words were spoken, the merchant's bird collapsed and fell to the bottom of the cage.

‘The news of his kinsman's death has killed him too,' thought the merchant. Sorrowfully he picked up the bird and put it on the window-sill. At once the bird revived and flew, to a near by tree. ‘Now you know,’ he said, ‘that what you thought was disaster was in fact good news for me. And how, the message, the suggestion how to behave in order to free myself, was transmitted to me through you, my captor.'

And he flew away, free at last.