Tim sent an email full of good info:
"A man captures a bird, and it asks him to tell its friends and relatives what became of it. When he does so, they fall to the ground apparently lifeless. Heart-stricken, the man returns home and reports this to the bird. The bird immediately falls to the floor of the cage and lies still. The man sorrowfully takes the body outside to dispose of it, but as soon as he lays it down the bird spreads its wings and flies away. The version I remember hearing from Gioia Timpanelli ends with the bird saying "I knew I could get good advice from my friends and relatives!" I saw a speaker on PBS talking about Taoism who told this tale as a parable, with the bird telling the man that what his friends and relatives taught him was that to be free in life, you have to "die" first.
You can find my "First Takes" recording at www.storybee.org/10through12/10through12.html.
Angela Klingler looked through her collection when I later told her I was trying to track down this story, and found it as a fable attributed to Rumi, "The Indian Bird," in Tales of the Dervishes, Teaching Stories of the Sufi by Idries Shah, Penguin Books, 1967, ISBN 0-14-019358-8.
Also, I looked up "Freedom" in the Storytellers' Sourcebook, and the one entry is an Aesop's Fable: Wolf prefers liberty and hunger to dog's servitude and plenty." Various books are cited including Aesop's Fables pub. by Grosset & Dunlap, 1947 pp 22-24, Aesop's Fables retod by Anne Terry White, Random, 1964, pp 75-74, & the Fables of Aesop, Joseph Jacobs. Macmillan, 1950, p.55.
Good luck with your program!"