I have been hearing and seeing you a lot recently, Mr Crow. Your thrilling caw floating in the wind outside my bedroom window in the early hours of the morning; and then again a little later whilst eating breakfast. You sound just like this:
The sleek black beauty of your genus has fascinated me for quite a while. Until today however, I did not appreciate the depth of interest in your kind – in both symbolism and legend – for so many generations across the world. Below are just a few of the amazing things I found out about your mysterious family.
Ancient Romans, your cry of “Cras! Cras!” meant “Tomorrow! Tomorrow!” and was interpreted as an expression of eternal hope.
North American Eskimos, your cry of “Kak, kak, kak!” meant “a deer-skin blanket” and so your cries warned people not to forget their blankets when they moved on from one spot to the next.
Ancient Icelandics, you symbolised Odin’s (one of the chief Norse gods) ability to see into the future. (Odin had a pair ravens called Hugin (pronounced “HOO-gin” – old Norse = “Thought”) and Munin (pronounced “MOO-nin” – old Norse = Mind) perching on his shoulders. Each daybreak they were sent out into the world to observe what was happening and question everybody, even the dead. By sunrise they would come back to whisper to their master what they had seen and learnt).
Ancient Greeks, Apollo turned you black when you informed him of the unfaithfulness of his lover, Coronis; giving you a reputation as a tattler, a spy, and a divulger of secrets.
Ukranian legend, you used to have many beautifully colored feathers and a lovely song; but after Autumn you started eating carrion which destroyed your voices and blackened your plumage. Your former loveliness is expected to be returned when Paradise is restored.
North American folklore you are the creator of the world. You gave light to people, taught them to take care of themselves, make clothes, canoes and houses. You also brought vegetation, animals, and other benefits for humans.
the British, if you ever flee the Tower of London, our monarchy will fall!
I certainly don’t see you as a foreboding creature (as you are so often portrayed in horror films and books). To me you portray power; wisdom; and hope.
I ache to discover your secrets.
So who are you?
And what are you trying to tell me?