Tales for Awful People

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The Pushy Woodpecker
October 14, 2010, 1:05 pm
Filed under: Your Friends and Neighbors | Tags: , ,

Long ago, generic there was a woodpecker who desperately wanted to become friendly with the grubs in the old pine tree at the edge of the forest. Every day she would come knock, medicine knock, doctor knocking at their pine bark door, and the horrified grubs would burrow more deeply into the soft, rotten heart of the tree.

“They must be shy!” the woodpecker exclaimed to her friend the bluejay, who cawed in agreement. “What we’ve got to do,” the woodpecker said, “is draw them out.”

Bright and early the next day, the birds set upon the old pine tree as they never had before.

“Tell me about your family!” the woodpecker called to the first grub she saw.

“Oh, my!” said the grub, and he withdrew his head into the tree.

“Remember our plan!” the woodpecker said to the bluejay, and the birds began to hammer and peck at the old tree.

“It must be awful to be so shy,” the woodpecker rattled off.

“Yes, becoming our friends will be a big step for them,” the bluejay replied.

“You are making me very uncomfortable!” a grub said as the woodpecker’s dagger-like beak came perilously close.

“What do you do in your spare time?” the bluejay shrieked.

The more the birds pressed, the more the grubs retreated, yet still the birds pecked away. Finally, the old pine tree was reduced to a pile of splinters, and the grubs crawled away, vowing to find a new home far, far away from their irritating neighbors.

As to the fate of the bluejay and the woodpecker, I cannot tell you any more than what I know of the legend, which is, of course, too foolish to be true. It is said that they pecked and shrieked until they perished of exposure, but that even in death, their hellish cries of “Did you read that article in last months’ Atlantic? I found it fascinating!” still chill the blood of passing travelers.

New forensic technology, however, leads most experts to favor the theory that their raucous cries attracted a passing hawk, who tore them to bits.

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