Josefine Ottesen (English site)

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The Peacock Who Wanted To Sing

Mallings, 1987

Author's comments

Extract from The Peacock Who Wanted To Sing :

The Peacock hurried back to the chicken run, puffed out his feathers, spread his tail and swept through the run.
All the hens turned and watched him. He felt his pride fizzing through him and he puffed himself out even more.
But he noticed at once that the hens didn't bow down submissively to him, they didn't cluck in admiration - they laughed!
They laughed so much that they had to hold each other up, while they sobbed, "Imagine that he comes here, the braggart, and thinks he can make an impression on anyone with his three wretched tail feathers, his scrawny body and his faded plumage. If he could sing a bit, well, maybe… but the only thing he can do is to screech so hoarsely that even the old cock can do better."
And then the hens began to talk about the nightingale and soon they forgot all about the Peacock.
So there he stood.
His tail had drooped and a deep sob spread through his skinny chest.
His head dropped and, with his thin tail dragging behind through the mess in the hen run, he went out of the gate.



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Author's comments:

The story for this picture book was written before my first book was published. It came into being at a time when I spent quite a bit of time with a lot of other hopeful young artists, who each in their own field had a dream of the big breakthrough. When it looked like one of us would succeed, it was difficult not to be envious, or not to imagine that one could have done it better oneself. I tried to capture the feeling that the others were better, more talented, luckier than me in the fable of the Peacock, who doesn't understand that true art comes from the heart and should not be valued by how loud the public applauds.

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