A caged bird in spring knows perfectly well that there is some way in which he should be able to serve. He is well aware that there is something to be done, but he is unable to do it. What is it? He cannot quite remember, but then he gets a vague inkling and he says to himself, «The others are building their nests and hatching their young and bringing them up», and then he bangs his head against the bars of the cage. But the cage does not give way and the bird is maddened by pain.
«What a idler» says another bird passing by - what an idler. Yet the prisoner lives and does not die. There are no outward signs of what is going on inside him, he is doing well, he is quite cheerful in the sunshine. But then the season of the great migration arrives: an attack of melancholy. He has everything he needs - say the children who tend him in his cage - but he looks out, at the heavy thundery sky, and in his heart of hearts he rebels against his fate.