"I Want Something in a Cage" is written by L E Greeve. The lesson is about a pet shop owner named Mr Purcell, and he is the protagonist of the lesson. The lesson opens with Mr Purcell experiencing some strange events following the arrival of a strange visitor to his shop. He purchased two doves and left the shop. When the customer left the shop, there remained a musty smell of an abandoned, haunted house. Later the narrator introduced the character and appearance of Mr Purcell to his readers. Mr Purcell is a small fussy man. He had a melon-shaped tummy. He wore spectacles in his eyes. His large glasses gave him the impression of a wise and genial owl.
Mr Purcell used to open his pet shop every day. He'd then take a seat behind the corner on a high stool. The next thing he did was open the morning newspaper and read the news for the day. He would show varied expressions on his face while he was reading the newspaper. When he spotted a heated argument in the newspaper, he would occasionally frown and raise his eyebrows. Also, he would not leave even a single word from the newspaper. In the meantime, his shop's pets, such as birds, monkeys, cats, and dogs, would make funny noises and wander around inside the gilded cages. The pets within the cages appeared to be terrified and desired to be let out. On the other hand, the customers who visited the shop would admire the pets and say that the pets inside the cages looked damn cute. While hearing it, Mr Purcell would smile, rub his hands and nod at the customers.
On a fine morning, Mr Purcell opened his pet shop like every other day. The day was very hard. The wintry air blew through the glass window. The climate outside the city was very drastic. While proceeding about his everyday routine, such as reading the newspaper, he noted that the frosty weather in the city was mentioned. When the customers enter Mr Purcell's shop, the bell over the door would jingle to show their arrival. But on that fine morning, he recalled that the doorbell failed to ring, and when he raised his head, he saw a strange man standing inside.
From the first instant, Mr Purcell had the instinct that the man hated him. On the other side, it was his responsibility to welcome the customers. So he greeted the strange man. But he never looked at him and instead focused on the creatures in his shop. Mr Purcell immediately said, "How can I help you?" After that, the man became aware of his presence and looked closely at him. Later the man said he needed something in a cage. Mr Purcell was unsure of what he was attempting to convey. After thinking for a while, Mr Purcell said that he had small white rats. When the man heard that, he quickly said, "No."
Later the man explained that he needed something that could fly. After hearing the man's talk, Mr Purcell understood he was talking about birds. Mr Purcell exclaimed, "A bird!" Later the strange man looked at a suspended cage and pointed his finger at it. It was a pair of snowy white doves. The man inquired as to how much it would cost. Mr Purcell immediately stated that it would cost five-fifty dollars. The man was upset when he heard that. He said that he required a pair of doves and that he only had five dollars. Later Mr Purcell did a quick mental calculation about the profit he was going to earn, and he said that he would sell it for five dollars. Then, the man kept the five dollars on the counter.
Mr Purcell then stood on tiptoe and handed the caged bird to the man. He stared at the lovely pair of doves. He afterwards inquired of the storekeeper whether he knew how long it took for him to earn the five dollars. Mr Purcell wished he could send him out, but he couldn't because he was a customer. As a result, he replied, "How long does it take to earn this amount?" The man immediately responded that it took him ten years to earn five dollars. He earned fifty cents a year. He worked hard in prison to make this amount. After hearing that, Mr Purcell wiped the sweat from his brows. Later, he considered telling him how to take care of the doves. On the other hand, the man did not listen to him.
The man walked out of the store. Mr Purcell immediately moved closer to the window and observed the man's activity. The man came to a halt and opened the gilded cage. Then he drew out the birds, and they started to fly away from the cage one by one. He felt happy while seeing the birds flying in the wintry air. Later, he dropped the cage and walked away. On seeing the behaviour of the man, Mr Purcell was confused and sad. He was sad because he had sold the pair of doves for five dollars, and also, the behaviour of the man led him to feel vaguely insulted.