The Language of the Ants



Once upon a time there was a king who had a garden blooming all four seasons with many promenades, blessed with much flowing water and all species of birds found on branches while their songs echoing everyplace.

And there was a school of peacocks, most beautiful and wonderful indeed. One day the king asked for one of the peacocks and ordered a leather garb sewn for it such that all its beauty would be covered so it will not be able to see its own beauty and furthermore the king ordered a small basket to be placed on the peacock’s head with a small hole so seeds can be feed and its vision occluded.

Much time passed and this peacock forgot itself, the king, the garden and the rest of the peacocks. When it looked upon itself all could see was the miserable leather garment and nothing else! Therefore it eventually deduced that for it there is nothing more beautiful than the leather garb and the basket on the head, and thus concluded with conviction: Whosoever has any claim beyond the leather and the basket is stupid and absolutely ignorant.

However anytime a breeze passed through the little hole on the head-basket carrying the scent of the trees and the flowers, such anxiety would engulf the peacock thus made conscious with a peculiar yearning to fly with verve. But it could not fathom the source of the yearning, since all it remembered was the leather garb and the basket’s hole through which the seeds pushed through. The peacock had forgotten everything. And even when it heard the songs of the birds, especially the other peacocks, again it was not aware where the sounds came from or who made them.

For the longest time the peacock asked itself: Where do the breeze and the songs come from? But never figured out the answer, and from time to time some peculiar beatitude would appear within, beyond the peacocks will and control. The peacock’s ignorance stemmed from the fact that it had forgotten the garden and itself. Any breeze or song would spark a yearning without any sense for the cause or the source.

A life time passed and the peacock was left in this bewildered state, until such day the king ordered the removal of the leather garb and the head-basket.

Once the veils removed from the peacock, it saw itself midst a beautiful garden, saw itself, saw the garden, saw the birds, saw the other peacocks and drown within the sorrows.


Cast of characters and the story’s elements:

The peacock
The king
The garden
The other peacocks
The leather garb
The head-basket
The head-basket’s hole
The breeze
The songs of the songbirds
The day the peacock was garbed
The day the peacock was disrobed
The king’s order
The peacock’s induced amnesia
The peacock’s yearning
The peacock’s sorrow
The peacock’s blindness
The peacock’s bewildered state
The peacock’s eventual conclusion
The peacock’s question itself about the source of the breeze and the songs

Can you figure out the metaphors and re-write the story for human psyche?
Can you figure out why the photo of the Buzz Lightyear was chosen?

© 2005-2002,  Dara O. Shayda