Parable: Learning from Tragedy, the Story of the Imprisoned Parrot

Parrot in a cage

Parrot in a cage

There was once a merchant who owned a beautiful parrot. The parrot’s ability to sing kept the merchant very happy for years. The merchant looked after the parrot very well. But the parrot, who was confined in a cage, missed the freedom that many other birds of its kind had, and longed to be with them in the wilderness.

The merchant one day decided to travel to India. He approached everyone in his house and asked them what gift they would like him to bring for them from India. He did not forget to ask the parrot.

The parrot did not ask for anything specific, but said to its owner:

“I want you to go to the jungles in India and greet the free wild parrots on my behalf. Tell them that I miss them immensly and that my greatest wish and desire is to visit them one day.”

Wild parrots in a small tree - the freedom the merchant's parrot sought

Wild parrots in a small tree - the freedom the merchant's parrot sought

The merchant was quite wise, and understood what the parrot was trying to say to him. But, he was possessive of the parrot and knew in his heart that he would never be able to grant the parrot its cherished wish.

When the merchant arrived in India, he set out for the woods until he reached a group of parrots in the wilderness. There he conveyed his parrot’s message to the birds that were perched on a tree.

On hearing the message, one of the wild parrots started trembling,  fell from the tree and died.

The merchant thought that the message that he conveyed resulted in the death of the parrot, and became very remorseful and sad.

Upon his return home, the merchant reported the tragic incident to his own parrot.

The moment the parrot heard the story, it suffered the same fate as the parrot in the forest – it began trembling and died in its cage.

The poor merchant was shocked at the sight of what he had just witnessed – the death of his most beloved parrot who had sung for him for so many years.

He opened the cage, pulled out the parrot and put it on the ground just outside his house. No sooner had he done this, than the parrot became conscious and alive, and flew from the ground to a branch of a nearby tree.

The merchant was quite astounded by what the parrot had done to him.

He asked the parrot, “What was the secret behind this death and this resurrection?”

The bird replied, “Well, that Indian parrot taught me that if I wanted to become free, I should remain silent because my lovely singing had kept me imprisoned.”

A Free Parrot

A Free Parrot

_________________

Simerg adaptation of story by Rumi,  “The Merchant and the Parrot.”

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