The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book I Chapter 29

One of these days, which were bright fresh days of the springtime, when all the earth is full of love, Soetkin was talking by the open window, Claes humming some refrain, while Ulenspiegel had put a judge’s cap on the head of Titus Bibulus Schnouffius. The dog was working with his paws as though endeavouring to utter a judgment, but it was merely to get rid of his headgear.

Suddenly Ulenspiegel shut the window, ran into the middle of the room, jumped on chairs and tables, his hands stretched up to the ceiling. Soetkin and Claes saw that all this energy was to catch a pretty little bird that was crying out with fear, its wings fluttering, cowering against a beam in a corner of the ceiling.

Ulenspiegel was on the point of seizing it, when Claes said quickly:

“What are you jumping for like that?”

“To catch it,” answered Ulenspiegel, “and put it in a cage, and give it seed and make it sing for me.”

Meanwhile the bird, crying shrilly with terror, was flying about the room and dashing its head against the windowpanes.

Ulenspiegel did not cease jumping after it: Claes laid his hand weightily on the lad’s shoulder:

“Catch it,” he said, “put it in a cage, make it sing for you, do, but I, too, will put you in a cage, shut in with stout iron bars, and I will make you sing as well.

You like to run, you will not be able to run; you will be in the shade when you are cold, in the sun when you are hot. Then one Sunday we shall go out, forgetting to give you any food, and we shall only come back on the Thursday, and returning we shall find Thyl dead of hunger and stark and stiff.”
Soetkin wept, Ulenspiegel sprang forward.

“What are you going to do?” asked Claes.

“I am opening the window for the bird,” he answered.

And indeed, the bird, which was a goldfinch, went out of the window, uttered a cry of joy, shot up like an arrow in the air, then setting itself in an apple tree close by, it sleeked its wings with its beak, shook out its plumage, and becoming angry, hurled a thousand insults at Ulenspiegel in its bird speech.

Then Claes said to him:

“Son, never take liberty from man nor beast for liberty is the greatest boon in this world. Leave everyman to go in the sun when he is cold, in the shade when he is hot. And may God judge His Sacred Majesty who, having fettered freedom of belief in the land of Flanders, has now put Ghent, the noble town, in a cage of slavery.”