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The Proud Peacock
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Once upon a time, in the land of Sangala, lived Cleo the Peacock.
He had no friends except for Rickie the Rabbit, whose company he always disliked.
Rickie was a pest, and everyone always avoided him.
Cleo was a proud Peacock; he always raised his colourful feathers when he walked and often boasted of his beauty. He was not only proud but also arrogant and did not respect the other animals.
Even the Lion was insulted if he ever crossed his path.
Therefore, in the whole land, it was only Rickie the Rabbit who had the nerve to approach him.
One day Rickie the Rabbit went out searching for nuts and found Cleo the Peacock coming back from his farm with a basket full of nuts.
He decided that he was going to get some of Cleo's nuts, but he knew it was not going to be easy to get them from him, and that Cleo would never agree to give him any.
He thought of a trick that he could use in order to get some Cleo's nuts.
Rickie disguised himself by laying low on the ground and covered himself with some dead leaves; the leaves were a camouflage.
When he was sure that Cleo would not be able to see him he laid there quietly.
As Cleo passed him he said loudly,
"Cleo! Cleo! Drop your basket!"
"Who are you?" Cleo asked.
"I am the voice of your dead mother speaking to you from under the ground" Rickie said.
Cleo was terrified and looked around, but could not see anyone.
He tried to run away, but before he could he heard the voice speak again,
"Don't you try to run away Cleo, if you do so some terrible and evil things will
happen to you on your way."
Cleo slowly dropped his basket as the voice told him to run away without looking back.
He immediately ran home as commanded.
Meanwhile, Rickie the rabbit came out from the heap of leaves and took the basket full of nuts home.
That day Rickie rejoiced, because his trick had worked.
Cleo on the other hand, had cried because he had no food to eat that day.
He made up his mind to leave very early the following morning to gather some more nuts.
'Perhaps the voice would not speak again' he thought.
Rickie also planned to wake up very early, to patiently wait for Cleo.
He believed that Cleo would go again to his farm to fetch another basket full of nuts.
Like the previous day, Rickie waited for Cleo, covering himself with dead leaves in disguise.
When he saw Cleo approaching he said loudly,
"Cleo, Cleo! You're here again, drop your basket!"
Cleo was afraid and started weeping again.
He wanted to plead with the voice to allow him to take his basket with him but the voice said.
"Do not speak and don't you cry, drop your basket and run home without looking back."
Immediately Cleo ran, without looking back, till he reached home.
He cried and cried with hunger until his tears filled the whole room.
Rickie kept on with his trick and grew fatter every day, whereas Cleo got thinner and began losing his beauty.
Cleo could not ask anyone for help because he had never respected anyone; he was proud and always spoke arrogantly to other animals.
One day he sat outside his house looking pale and sad.
Pierre the hare was passing bye, when he saw Cleo he wanted to turn away but Cleo called him over and spoke politely to him.
"Pierre, please come back, I am sorry for never respecting you and all the other animals. I have realised my wrong doings, please forgive me." he said.
Pierre was shocked that Cleo had changed and wondered what had caused it.
"I have not eaten for over a week now. Every day I go to my farm to get some nuts, but I always hear a voice telling me to drop my basket and run away or else some evil things would happen to me." Cleo said.
Pierre felt pity for him and decided he was going to help; he said that they should go to his farm together the next day.
The next day, as usual, Rickie went to wait for Cleo on the path he always walked home.
Cleo and Pierre were returning from Cleo's farm together with two baskets full of nuts when they heard the voice speak again.
"Cleo I can see you're coming back today with someone else; I am the voice of your dead mother speaking from under the ground, drop your basket and run away without looking back, or else some evil and terrible things will happen you".
Cleo started crying again; he dropped his basket in fear and started running away with Pierre the hare.
When they had run some distance, Pierre asked Cleo to stop and convinced him to go back with him to see what was going to happen to the basket and if it was going to disappear.
"Don't worry we will hide and watch from a distance, to find out what will happen to the basket, if it would disappear or not."
Reluctantly, Cleo agreed to follow Pierre the hare.
When they came close to the spot where they heard the voice speak, they hid themselves and watched.
Rickie the rabbit came out from under the heap of leaves and rushed to take the basket as he always did, but not knowing that Cleo and Pierre were watching him.
As soon as he picked up the basket, Cleo and Pierre rushed out of hiding and shouted, "Rickie!" running towards him.
He now realised that he had been caught, he ran away very quickly and escaped.
Pierre told the story to all the other animals and Cleo apologised to everyone for his pride and arrogance.
The other animals forgave him, and they now became very angry with Rickie, who had escaped, and promised to punish him severely when he was caught.
Ever since then, Rickie the rabbit has been running away, and if he sees anyone, he would make sure he runs away fast to hide in holes.
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