Timour was very skilled in using a slingshot. He never missed in near distances. Even at longer distances, he had a good percentage of hitting to targets. His preys were usually sparrows, laughing doves, collard doves, doves, and pigeons. He used to take some younger boys with him, and they followed him at a good distance. He stealthy would go behind bushes or trees and shot birds on trees nearby. When the unfortunate bird would fall on the ground, he left to the boys behind him to get it and behead it. He then would move to the next tree and waited for the next bird to come to his sight.
One day he took Taha, his cousin, with him. Taha was two years younger than him and he was a sweet-hearted boy. Timour had assured him that today he didn’t intend to hunt birds, so Taha was relieved that he didn’t have to kill birds today. Beside that going with Timour seemed exciting, so he accepted his invitation. They approached a farm of a relative 3km north of the village.
When they reached near the farm Timour with his sharp eyes saw a group of young common babblers, which have just left their lair. They were gathered on a tree and they couldn’t fly to trees nearby, so they all were wandering on stems of that tree.
Common babblers are so noisy and they are more social than other birds. They don’t fear from men as other kinds of local birds. They’re not usually hunted to be killed and eaten by local people, but they sometimes are caught and kept in cages because of their song. But for Timour they were some targets to satisfy his joy of shooting with a slingshot and killing birds. He broke his promise and approached them.
Taha was terrified. He tried to prevent him from killing them. Killing these noisy birds was not something that he could withstand. These birds were not good for eating, too. Timour was not such a boy to hear these words and he was determined to do his intention.
One by one he shot common babblers and they fell to the ground. Taha was scared to the death to touch these injured and bloody birds. But Timour yelled at him, “be quick and behead them. They are cursing us now when they sing in pain. Let them die an easy death by killing them at once.”
“I’m scared of them,” Taha replied. “I’ve never killed anything till now.”
Timour craned his neck. “Do it quick, or I hit you hard.”
Taha had no option except following his commands. One by one he beheaded birds with his own hand and gathered them in a pocket that Timour had given him.
At night when Taha had come back home, he couldn’t eat anything for dinner. He couldn’t sleep afterward, and all of his thoughts were about those birds, which was injured badly, some lost a leg or a wing after shot of slingshot, and he had to behead and kill them. It was a disgusting scene he couldn’t forget. When at last sleep came to his eyes, he saw birds in his nightmare and woke up abruptly. He was awake all night and only could sleep at dawn in peace.
When he woke up it was an hour before noon. His family had left him to sleep longer because they thought he was tired of walking yesterday with Timour. Suddenly his older brother, who was waiting for him to wake up, rushed to him. “Look! I have a surprise for you.” He put a cage in front of him. Within the cage was a couple of common babblers that had been singing nonstop.
Taha wailed and kicked the cage with all his power as someone who has seen a demon come to him an kill him. The cage crushed on the wall and fell on the ground. “Why did you do that,” his brother shouted at him. “You want to kill them. Why are you such a cruel thing.”
As his younger brother and sister, that had come to the scene to find out what was happening, were crying, the older brother opened the cage door. One of the birds was killed instantly and the other one could not use one of its legs so it tilted sideways.
From that day Taha was named a killer in his family. His brothers and sister called him bird-killer all the time and they said he is heartless. But Taha was a sweet-hearted boy. He had never killed a living creature until that day with Timour. He was scared of any bird from that day, but he had to live in a house that there was a cage in it, which had a disabled common babbler in it. It sang all the time and always reminded Taha that day’s horrible scene.