The Parrot and his Cage

151. THE PARROT AND HIS CAGE. A parrot, which belonged to a person of quality, was fed every day with plenty of choice dainties, and kept in a stately cage, which was set abroad upon a marble table in the garden, that he might enjoy the light of the sky, and the freshness of the air, to the best advantage. His master, and all the family, when they talked to him, used the most tender, fond expressions, and the disorder of his feathers was smoothed with kindly touches by the fair hand of his lady: yet, notwithstanding this happy situation, he was uneasy, and envied the condition of those birds who lived free in the wilderness, and hopped up and down, unconfined, from bough to bough. He earnestly longed to lead the same life, and secretly pined with grief, because his wishes were denied him.
After some time, however, it happened that the door of his cage was left unfastened, and the long-wished-for opportunity was given him of making an elopement. Accordingly, out he flew, and conveyed himself among the shades of a neighbouring wood, where he thought to spend the remainder of his days in content.
But, alas! Poor Poll was mistaken: a thousand inconveniences, which he never dreamt of, attended this elopement of his, and he is now really that miserable creature which before his imagination only made him. He is buffeted by the savage inhabitants of the grove; and his imitation of the human voice, which formerly rendered him so agreeable, does but the more expose him to the fierce resentment of the feathered nation. The delicate food, with which he used to be fed, is no more; he is unskilled in the ways of providing for himself, and even ready to die with hunger. A storm of rain, thunder, and lightning, fills all the air, and he has no place to screen or protect him; his feathers are wetted with the heavy shower, and blasted with the flashes of lightning: his tender nature, suited to a milder climate, could not stand the shock: he even died under it: but just before he breathed his last, he is said to have made this reflection: “Ah, poor Poll! Were you but in your cage again, you would never wander more.” [more info]

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