How true were the peacock lady’s words. How very true. The lovely lady truly was at the mercy of the ring; unable to step out of her own front door without fear of being discovered, imprisoned, and sentenced to death. She did, at first, try to leave the house. She donned a pair of long silk gloves, kept her hands in her pockets and, during one long, cold winter, she even held a small fur muff. But the ring forbade it; at night, it glowed with a phosphorescence powerful enough to illuminate the depths of the ocean, and during the day, it throbbed with an intense heated glow, spitting tiny, sizzling embers into the air.
The lovely lady soon grew accustomed to the shape of her walls, her front door, her windows. Days turned into months, months to years, and the years continued, one after the other, until two entire decades could be heard running through the lovely lady’s corridors, pitter patter, pitter patter, tiny footsteps. During those years, the ring’s jewel expanded until it was twice its previous size, and its sparkle became brighter until it almost blinded the lovely lady as she went about her daily house-duties. It was both stunningly beautiful and unbearably overpowering. Not a day went by that didn’t have the lovely lady wringing her hands in painful desperation, while simultaneously holding her left hand up to the light so as to marvel at the miraculous beauty glowing on her finger.
***I could not decide on an illustration for this continuation of the tale. So, I ask you, dear silent reader, can a poem illustrate a story? All in favour, say "aye." The ayes have it! So here it is:
THE PEACOCK (By Judith Wright)
Shame on the aldermen who locked
the Peacock in a dirty cage!
his blue and copper sheens are mocked
by habit, hopelessness and age.
The weary Sunday families
along their gravelled paths repeat
the pattern of monotonies
that he treads out with restless feet.
And yet the Peacock shines alone;
and if one metal feather fall
another grows where that was grown.
Love clothes him still, in spite of all.
How pure the hidden spring must rise
that time and custom cannot stain!
It speaks its joy again - again.
Perhaps the aldermen are wise.