TODAY -

Mere Tail (Tale)

James Watson *

Who said the peacock's tail is his own? What if I say it's a borrowed tail? It is in fact a gift which was not in anyway supposed to be a gift. You could call it a robbed treasure. Because it was acquired by deception. That's what legend says.

I came across this legend or myth in a folk tale which one of my old village folk s told me.

Folk tales are an important source of literature of primitive man which the present generation have decided to forget. In fact, the whole population of today's age seems to be ashamed of their origin/genealogy, which to me is a greater shame.

Let me tell you one such tale which has lived through generations. It's a forgotten tale. I would like to revive such tales and tell it to the world.

It's a tale from my land where only soft wind blows, where people always wear Mona Lisa's smile on their faces. It's a place where the furious sun is calm and winter dare not be cruel.

Believe me, it was the cock who owned the tail that the peacock flaunts proudly and displays to the whole world to day as its own. Once upon a time it was the cock who wore that tail.

And on the virtue of being the proud owner of that envious tale, Mr. Cock was considered the most handsome of all male species. Girls quarreled and ached their necks in their effort to steal a glance of the most handsome man on the planet.

Those were the days when Mr. Peacock was just another guy, an (ordinary) layman like you and me (unless of course you are someone special,.. hehe). And sure enough, Mr. Cock was a proud man. He was at least as proud as the "proudest peacock" (in today's context) if not more..

Girls followed Mr. Cock like the rats and children of Hamelin followed the Pied Piper. This made him even prouder than he already was. But Mr. Peacock, as you can imagine wasn't enjoying this sight at all.. He was absolutely green with envy and jealousy. He never could command even half the attention of the girls that Mr. Cock could hands down.

Seeing the girls flocking to Mr. Cock made his already envious heart a restless lot. How much he wished to be in Mr. Cock's shoes! Poor fellow! No girls care to even look at him. He went to bed every night with the hope of getting out of bed as Mr. Cock the next morning. But that never happened. He woke up as the same old Mr. Peacock everyday.

Mr. Cock could see his predicament. They were, in fact friends; cousins, if you'd believe me. And they were very good friends until the day Mr. Cock committed that great sin.

Mr. Cock always loved Mr. Peacock and wanted to see him happy. So when Mr. Peacock requested him to lend him his tail for one day, with the promise of returning it before dawn, he gladly agreed. That's how Mr. Peacock got his tail and the liar never came back.

The whole day Mr. Cock didn't dare to venture out of his room. He remained indoors. He thought it quite an embarrassment to go in public without his most coveted possession. Girls came to him like always. They invited him to parties and luncheons. But poor Mr. Cock! He didn't dare to saunter out of his nest without his beautiful tail.

Now all attention shifted to Mr. Peacock. Girls considered him even more handsome than Mr. Cock. They never realized that he was the same Mr. Peacock in someone else's attire.

Poor Mr. Cock waited and waited. But Mr. Peacock never came back or returned his tail. Soon it was to be dawn. But there was no sign of Mr. Peacock ever returning. In anger and disgust, he screamed and shouted. He called out to Mr. Peacock at the top of his voice to return his tail, over and over again.

So when you hear the cock's clarion, always remember that it's Mr. Cock asking Mr. Peacock to return his tail.




* James Watson (also known as 'Hiyang') contributes regularly to e-pao.net. The writer can be reached at musingamong_cauliflower(at)yahoo(dot)com . This article was webcasted on September 30th, 2008.

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