By: Naima Baghozi

Who are the peckers? Why are they called the peckers? Let us find out …

In one place there were three big ducks, very big indeed about five kilos each. Every time they see a puddle of water anywhere they become very happy.

They would play in the water quack quacking around and singing in loudest of voices in their own language that they can understand. We people could never understand. We only think they are making a lot of noise and disturbing us all the time.

One thing about these ducks is that when they get this puddle of water anywhere, they would act like they own that whole place, not wanting anyone to even pass by.

One day they found a puddle of dirty water on a street between houses. This street was a very busy one with people passing all the time and not forgetting cars, motorbikes and bicycles.

The people who were driving in their cars or riding on their motorbikes and bicycles were very safe. We cannot say the same to the people who are walking on foot or the school children going or returning from school…

The very moment these ducks sense a person or a child coming then up and up go their necks and their beaks are all set and ready to peck at anyone who comes near them. All the while, they make so much noise and even to an extent of chasing the passersby away. Yes, the people do run away returning to the same route they came with.

This made it very difficult for the people and school children who were afraid of the ducks because they knew when they peck, they do it very hard and it really hurts.

So, all the time the people using this street would hope that the ducks would not be there so they could get to their homes easily. If they find the ducks there, they would have to take a very long way to get to their homes. This way they would always be very late getting to their homes and their families become very worried.

There are some people who are brave and are not afraid of them. These people, even if they see the ducks raising their necks high and making so much noise, they would just walk by the ducks without being afraid.

Funny enough, the ducks don’t even try to peck them; they just let them pass by. It is like they sense when people fear them and they chase them ready to peck. When they sense a person is not afraid of them, they just let him pass.

The people got so fed up with these ducks and really prayed for the puddle of water to dry up so they can go to another place. Days went and days came but the ducks remained at the same spot. The only time they were not there is in the evening when they went home to sleep. Early in the mornings, they would return to the street which they thought was theirs alone, not to be used by anybody else.

The people got so tired of this that they decided to go and see the owner of these ducks and talk to him. So, they asked the people around the area if they knew where he lived. They were taken to the house of the owner of these ducks. It was not far, just around the corner.

The owner listened to the people’s cries and the problems they had to get their way to their homes. The owner listened carefully to them and then finally said,

“I have heard you…” and that is all. He then closed his door and went inside his house.

So, the people were left just standing there with wonder on their faces, not knowing what to understand by what he said. They all decided to go on their way hoping maybe tomorrow things will be different and the ducks owner will have made a different plan for the ducks.

Come the next day, the people were in for a big surprise for they found the ducks at the same usual spot and even happier quack quacking and making more noise.

As days continued this way and the owner had not taken any action of removing his ducks from the busy street, the people got angrier. One day, among these people there were some young boys, about eight of them, who thought of a plan to get these ducks out of people’s way.

They met by themselves without telling anybody of what they were planning to do.

They waited until it was almost evening time and then slowly, came towards the ducks holding in their hands three big boxes. The plan was for them to jump upon the ducks with their boxes open and just carry them away for good.

They did just that but it wasn’t very easy because the ducks were very big and they quacked so loudly while fighting for their lives but the young boys were also strong and wanted to make sure they got the ducks out of the way of the people and the school children.

Finally, they were able to trap them in the boxes and just took the opposite direction so that the owner wouldn’t see them.

The normal time for their going home came and their owner opened the gate in readiness so when they come, they could just go in…but on this day, they just did not come home and it was getting dark. The owner started worrying and went out to look for them but they were nowhere to be found.

He started asking his neighbours if they had seen his ducks but no one had seen them. Then he started asking little children who normally play around if they had seen them anywhere but the children had also not seen them.

He kept asking around until one little boy came forward and said he saw these young boys who had come with boxes and took them away.

The owner put his hands on his head and started screaming on top of his voice for the loss of his three big ducks who would have brought him a lot of money if he had sold them.

He then wished he had listened to the people who had come to bring their cries to him. He should have taken more care of them and kept them inside his compound. Then they would not have the chance of troubling people and pecking at them all the time.

Now, he was the one who was at a loss for he wasn’t going to see his lovely ducks ever again for he didn’t even know where to start looking for them.

Now you know who the peckers are and why they were called that. From the next day onward all the people were surprised but happy to see that the ducks were no longer there. They did not even know what had happened to them. All they knew was that they were glad that they were forever gone.

***THE END***