by Ellie Woods
by Ellie Woods
"Open the box!" Princess Jahanara ordered, masking her brimming anticipation with her unemotional words.
Her father's guard rushed over to the teen princess, his size twelve feet clanking on the marble floor. When he got there, they young monarch was tapping her pink silk slipper impatiently.
"Hurry up!" she mumbled. The guard took his shark tooth spear and stabbed the top of the container, careful not to shish kabob whatever was inside. He pulled off the top of the sea-worn mahogany crate. An azure head slinked out, the top of which was dappled with silvery green and blue feathers.
His yellow eyes twitched and darted around, drinking in his new surroundings. He looked at the two people standing in front of him and cocked his head in exasperation. They seemed to be frozen, wondering where this strange beauty of a bird had come from, what distant land it called home.
The peacock slowly stood up and winced, his thin legs sore from the trip. Suddenly, the uniquely clad girl reached out and stroked his pride and joy, his marvelous train of tail feathers. Very distraught, he squawked in warning and flew up to a long silver pole with a yellow flag on it.
"Oh great! How are we going to get him now?" she said in exasperation.
The guard strolled out of the small villa where the bird had been delivered and shouted some orders to the servants working there. The poor servants, hoping to get a raise for fast service, shot to the king's villa, about a mile away. Soon, they arrived, all carrying large bags. The king's daughter raised an eyebrow when the items were laid out in front of her. A golden cage, a gargantuan watermelon, and a bowl of grapes.
The guard grinned slyly. "Do I have my lady's permission to catch the bird?"
The princess waved her hand carelessly as a signal to go. The watchman took the bowl of grapes and held it out to the bird. The peacock looked wistfully at the sweet fruit but restrained the ominous offer of enchanting food. The sentry grabbed the cage and grunted with its enormous weight. he placed it by a small window, where the princess sat every night and watched the sunset slowly fade into night. With his iron sword that never left his side, he sliced the watermelon in two. Its sticky juice ran down the table, like blood.
Jahanara slowly smiled, catching on to her guard's plan. While she placed a trail of grapes to the flagpole, he put a half of the watermelon in the cage. The both sat and waited, stock-still, until the bird was tempted to follow the trail. When the king of birds got to the watermelon, he rejoiced for so much food in one day! The guard and the monarch locked the cage and left the bird to adjust and eat his fill.