Proud As a Peacock
“Proud As a Peacock” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Minuki Kihansa Adhihetty, :Sri Lankan School, Muscat, Oman.
Proud As a Peacock
Willy Hamilton was not in his usual mood for his day at school because it has let him down. Willy was a good looking 9-year-old boy but he wasn’t in his happy-go-lucky state that day. It was just that morning he has been made faces at by a 11thgrader, pulled from the hair by his very vicious elder brother, embarrassed by the English teacher for his spellings and wounded his knee when he climbed down the staircase. Willy wished he could begin his life all over again. He was not famous like his cousin Harry, who was the son of a rich businessman. And he wouldn’t even think of his father owning things like his uncle.
To let the rest of the day pass by, Willy went through the old albums he found in his dad’s closet. He flipped through the pictures of his ancestors, who were in painting overalls, aprons and finally his dad who seemed to be more important of all in his suit as a client of a company. All his ancestors’ seemed to have lethargic and boring jobs in Willy’s perspective. But somehow, each of them seemed to be better than the other. “Maybe I could be more useful out of them all,” Willy said to himself. He stood up in the most sluggish manner with the intention of sliding the book to his bed. But when a picture slipped from between the pages, he stopped. The man in the picture seemed like a bodybuilder. His ship uniform made him look important and formal. When he asked his mother, she explained that it was his great-grandfather who was a stevedore. Willy did not know what stevedore actually meant but it sounded very important to him.
The next day at school, Willy went around mentioning that he is to be respected a great-grandchild of a world famous stevedore. Every child, even his best friend Dennis stared at his unusual boasting. That day at the class, they were given to write an essay about their future ambition.
“Willy, would you like to read out your story to everyone?” asked his teacher who noticed that he was unusually enthralled in his schoolwork.
“My future ambition is to become a respected and popular stevedore like my great grandfather and keep up the title of my family,” read Willy with a sense of proudness.
He did notice that everyone in the classroom was giggling but thought that they were jealous of him. The next day, a ninth grader was listening to Willy boasting about his grandfather to a boy who was younger than him.
“So you see, you have to bow before me,” Willy requested rudely.
The kid started to laugh and walked away.
“Hey, stevedore! Not even that kid is foolish to respect a lumper like you,” the older boy replied.
Everyone around broke out into giggles and Willy became a laughing stock. That day at home, his mom came to his room to comfort the weeping boy.
“You should have thought twice before talking Willy,” she said, while patting his head, “Stevedore is a person who unloads and loads things from a ship, not an emperor or anything as important as it sounds.”
She took out the photo of the person Willy was proud of that day and began to speak, “You see, what you do in life doesn’t matter as long as it has a perfectly beneficial and logical purpose. All your ancestors carried out jobs that might seem lame to you but ones that are more important to them. If they didn’t earn in any way, they would not have cared for the living of their kids.”
Willy’s guiltiness and ashamedness arose as his mom fed him advice about the discriminating thoughts he had about his family. Willy’s experience taught him many things he regrets doing and things you and I would be careful of after reading this story.