“Prince, I’m not above death. Tell me, how can you become immortal by eating a mortal?” asked the peacock
Once upon a time, there was a forest near the city of Varanasi. In this dense forest there lived a strange peacock. It was dazzling golden. It had a very sweet voice.
The strange peacock became the center of attraction in the forest. As the peacock became famous, the queen of Varanasi had a strong desire to see it. She asked the king, “Can’t you get me the golden peacock?”
“Yes, why not my dear?” Saying this, the king summoned the best and most active hunter of Varanasi to catch the golden peacock.
The hunter tried his best but failed. He could not catch golden peacock. But the queen yearned for the peacock, losing her peace of mind. She dreamt of the golden peacock time and again and fell ill.
The king ordered, “Catch the golden peacock even if you are to kill it.”
The best hunters of Varanasi went to the forest again. Month’s rolled by but they did not succeed in trapping the golden peacock. The queen of Varanasi died.
The king felt sorry for his queen, before his own death he left a message that in the dense forest of Varanasi, lived a golden peacock. One who would eat its flesh will become immortal and his body will grow luminous.
On hearing this, many people went into the forest but they did not find the golden peacock. The King’s son also went to the forest to capture the golden peacock. After several efforts, the Prince trapped the golden peacock.
The golden peacock asked the Prince, “What do you want from me?”
“My father said that one who ate your flesh will become immortal, so I’m going to eat your flesh,” said the prince. On hearing this peacock laughed at the prince.
The prince got angry and said, “Why do you laugh?”
“Prince, I’m not above death. Tell me, how can you become immortal by eating a mortal?” asked the peacock.
“But I will at least become luminous like you by eating your flesh,” said the Prince.
The peacock laughed again and said, “You are a fool. Do you become red when you eat a ripe apple? My color is due to the pious life I lead.”
Hearing this, the Prince felt guilty and begged forgiveness for his foolishness.
This teen story was first published in Meghdutam.com (between 1999 to 2002).
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