Once at the stump of a willow tree, there was a young peacock. An unordinary one though. All the others thought his eye was funny because it wasn’t blue like theirs. It was pink. The other peacocks would never ever let the peacock walk along their stream side path. If the peacock walked up to one of their meetings they would turn their backs in total silence. There was only one peacock who didn’t think that he was silly. Pete the pigeon. Occasionally Pete would fly over from Australia. He came about three times a year, so the peacock (Selina the leaf feathered peacock) hardly ever got any sympathy. Selina tried to ignore the others most of the time and just lounged in the shade of drooping willow leaves. Selina lived by a little pond, bright blue and glowing. She had set up a little habitat beneath the willow leaves. Sometimes the others would come trooping along so Selina would run to the opposite side of the tree to hide. Selina had hired a woodpecker from a nearby animal village and payed him to peck a large hole in the tree so she could live in it. Animal money was usually a small amount of food.
Selina had an older sister called Jacinta, but she would never help. All she cared about was the state of her feathers. She would just go parading around with the other female peacocks. She was pretty much a slave to the leader of the peacocks that paraded. That’s exactly why Jacinta always cared about her feathers (particularly her tail feathers.)
Selina had a business in a close by neighbourhood. She would go out to collect leaves at three in the morning. Then at four she would wander over to the stream before the others were up and parading and she would cross a fallen tree. The river below was rapid and fast flowing. The forest beyond was even worse, with its dark trees and hooting owls. It was so dark that the owls thought that it was night all the time. Wolves that Selina didn’t know about were in there and that is what I’m here to talk about today. She would usually take a path leading straight through the forest to the village, except that path had over the past few years grown too dangerous to take as a route. She would have to wind her way through the undergrowth until she finally found her way; which was pretty much as dangerous as the normal path. As soon as she stepped off the path, she knew she was not alone. Selina crept through the forest, every now and then holding her breath and crossing her feathers whenever she heard a rustle in the leaves. She could hear something following her, and knew that it was not a peacock, but a large hungry, bloodthirsty, animal. She could hear its low growls, sounding like it hadn’t eaten in about three days. Selina took a gulp of despair. Was this the end? It was getting closer by the second until she could feel its cold breath ruffling her feathers and its nose digging into her feathers of leaves. She couldn’t help it so she ran for her life, hoping that running would help. But it didn’t. The wolf was still chasing her, going faster than she could run. It caught hold of her, ripping out a few feathers, and dragging her to an underground lair. It dropped her in a corner saving her for tonight’s supper, or to save her to boil and have peacock flavoured tea. The tunnel like lair was dusty and damp, vines creeping up the edges. The ground was dirty and muddy. She hauled herself even further into the corner finding a rotting wooden trapdoor. She, of course, didn’t notice it and fell in, forcing herself to keep her beak shut.
She quickly slid some of her feathers into one of the rotted out cracks so she didn’t fall. Then she found out what the wolf was saving her for. Selina was hanging, just out of sight, above a boiling cauldron. Three wolves were sitting on logs around it; all of them thin and starving. She could hear the cub’s loud cries for food and the mother pushing the cauldron every now and then to mix the water and deer meat up. She wanted to help them except they were going to boil her! Why would she give her life up to some terrifying creatures that actually wanted to eat her?
She heard a rustle in the leaves again and the snoring of the wolf that caught her before. Then down the muddy entrance slope came Jacinta, with her usually sparkling, but now brown with mud, feathers. Without a word she pulled Selina up. Now for the tricky part, they had to creep out of the lair without making a sound. The slope was muddy and they only just made it up. It was now five in the morning and the business starts at half past six. As they walked through the forest Jacinta explained that she now didn’t care that she was made of leaves and had pink eyes.