Spring Tide: Short Story – The Way of the World

The way of the world

The way of the world

One sunny day, an old man climbed the top of a hill, tired and panting, carrying two bird cages in his hand. Inside the cage, there were two birds-one blue bird and one black bird. The man sat under a maple tree, looking at the two beautiful birds and then spoke, “O lovely little birds of God”, he said sympathising, “Life is miserable to you birds, as you have to be shut up in a cage all day long, striving for freedom, thinking of the days when you used to fly joyfully in the bright blue sky. What you birds desperately need is freedom and freedom alone!”. Saying this, the man looked above at the floating clouds and slowly turned to open the cage doors, to let the birds go free. When he tried to do this unique act, the man was suddenly filled with immense pride. He then opened the cage doors. “Fly away birds!”, he cried, with joyful tears, “Fly away to Paradise-to God’s Garden of love, into the sunshine, into the brilliant light, to a big new world awaiting you!”. The birds immediately knew that they were granted freedom and they flew out of the cage, happy and free, humming a blissful song. The man then closed his eyes for a second and thought that he had accomplished something indescribable and these moments seemed unforgettable to him. In a few minutes, the birds disappeared and they were nowhere to be seen.

The man returned the next day to the same place and was amazed to see the two birds back again singing, perched on the maple tree. He revisited the same place again the day after that, and saw the birds. He continued this routine of visiting the hill, for a year, again and again to see the lovely birds. One day as usual, when he climbed the hill to see the birds, he was surprised not to find the birds. The man spent all his day, searching all over the place and was terribly disappointed at the end of the day. The man kept on going to the same place daily after that, with no luck of finding the birds.

One more year passed. The old man became very sick and was laid in his deathbed. He came to know that his time on earth was very short. That night, he thought of the birds, the maple tree and the hill that he could not climb again. As he was sleeping with these sad thoughts in his heart, he was awakened by chirping sounds coming from the window sill. He opened his eyes and saw the birds-one blue and one black. A smile came over his face and he started to laugh loudly with happiness. The birds flew and sat on the desk and sang to him all night long. In his dream, he climbed the hill and saw thousands of bird cages with beautiful black and blue birds. He imagined himself opening all the cages, one by one and setting all the birds free and soon birds filled the entire sky and he heard them thank him.

The morning dawned and the milkman, who supplied milk everyday, entered the old man’s house and was shocked to see the dead old man on his bed and the two birds seated by his side, on the desk. “Poor old man!” he exclaimed, as an evil smile spread his lips, when he thought of the birds. “I wonder how much they would give me for these ugly birds at the market. I would take no less than five pounds” he thought and turned to grab them.

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