The bird of Paradize
Translation: Hans Brockhuis
Once upon a time there was a small multicoloured bird of paradise. He was a creative being and always of high spirits, full of inner beauty and good-looking at that. His feathers seemed, by the freedom he enjoyed and the worthiness he possessed, to radiate from within. Many were moved, were attracted by him and admired him unconditionally. And although there were many rivals, it didn’t disturb him very much because he accepted the way he was. He knew what life had in store for him.
One day he ran up to a golden cage, equalling him in beauty which was offering him to stay, using him, equally enchanted, as a dwelling. Because the little bird of paradise felt attracted to this mild mannered cage, its quiet manners were refreshing to his own restlessness, and he was already looking forward to permanent housing, he agreed to stay. He insisted though that the door would always be open. His new lodging saw no problems and felt happy being a shelter for the charming bird.
The mutual years went by fast and the
bird of paradise quickly got used to life in his new dwelling. From
time to time however he greatly enjoyed his outings in the woods,
but he spent more and more time by making his residence snug. Moreover
he soon possessed a few little birds of paradise, whom he required
to raise. The more time he needed for his offspring, the more sporadic
his ventures became. Even the door became closed more often, indeed
it almost rusted down.
One day he inadvertently bumped into the closed door of the cage. It just didn’t want to open up. Only after great efforts he managed to get the rusting hinge to shift a little. At the same moment a warm wind brushed through his feathers, touching his very heart. It seemed as if once again his plumage erected itself and again began to radiate some.
“Now I know what was missing!” he cried happily. Awakened by the voice of his buddy, the golden cage asked: “What are you doing?” “I want to try if I am still able to fly, if I still know the world, if I can still exist there, if I am still the one who I was, long ago.” With every breath of the wind touching his feathers, new questions rose up in his mind.
“But you don’t have to! I like you and
accept you the way you are.” The cage tried to prevent the bird from
flying away. He was scared to loose him.
Just in that moment the door seemed to open widely of its own accord and a last sunbeam struck the feathers of the bird of paradise. Suddenly his plumage regained its long vanished shimmering that seemed to mingle with the changing colours at the horizon. In a strange beneficial way a tingling ran through all his muscles. Recollecting the past few days and in anticipation to his new way of life in almost forgotten areas he joyfully raised his head and thanked his true friend: “I really will come back, because I need you too!”
While uttering these words he set off, into the air. By way of a good-by he turned a few diffident pirouettes and then disappeared, somersaulting in the sunset. His feathers radiated a thousand fold prettier than before. Moreover he now possessed, next to his freedom, also a very true friend who waited for him and took care of him when he, tired but happy from his outing, had hurried home.