The Great Moment
Manfred Kyber

Canadian Theosophist, January 15, 1946.

"Sometimes when life seems beautiful
And I am strong and free,
I pause and think of captive things
That peep at life through bars.

And through my heart there sweeps a prayer
Of passion and of rage -
O God of mercy, pity things
Locked up within a cage."

A little bird sat in his cage and gazed out with longing eyes into the sunshine. He was a singing bird and lived in a civilized country, or at least in a country supposed to be civilized.

There were blue mountains in the distance.

"The South is behind those mountains," thought the little bird, "I only flew once in that direction. Never again."

The distant mountains seemed to him to be quite near. His longing for them caused them to draw near to the bars of his cage.

"They are so very near," said the little bird, "if only the bars were not there! If the door would only open once only just once! Then the great moment would come, and with one beat of my wings I should be behind those blue mountains."

The cranes were migrating. Their complaining call sounded through the clear autumn air, complaining and alluring at the same time. It was the call to the South.

They disappeared behind the blue mountains.

The little bird flung himself against the bars of his cage.

The winter came and the little bird was silent.

The snow fell and the blue mountains turned grey. The way to the South was buried in cold and fog.

Many winters passed and many summers. Many years passed. The mountains turned blue and grey many times over. The little bird still waited for the great moment. Then one fine autumn day the door of the cage was left open.

By mistake, of course - people never do that on purpose.

The great moment had arrived! The little bird trembled with joy and excitement. Carefully and timidly he fluttered up the nearest tree. But everything about him made him feel confused - he was no longer accustomed to freedom.

The blue mountains stood in the blue distance. But now they seemed to be very far away, much too far away for wings that had been motionless for years behind the bars of a cage. But it had to be attempted. For the great moment had arrived!

The little bird took all his courage together and all his powers, and spreading his wings wide for the flight to the South behind the blue mountains, fluttered again.

But he got no further that the nearest branch. Had his wings become crippled in the course of the long years of waiting, or was there something wrong within himself? He did not know. The blue mountains were far off, much too for for him.

He fluttered quietly back into his cage.

The cranes migrated. He could hear their cry, complaining and at the same time alluring, through the autumn air. It was the call to the South.

They disappeared behind the blue mountains.

The little bird bowed his head and buried it beneath his wing.

The Great Moment was over.

Last Update : January 2009
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