The Crow

On the moor there was a very old old ruin.
Perched upon one of the broken, ivy-clad walls surrounded by large, moss covered stones was a crow.  As he considered himself Lord of the Ruin, he would arrogantly strut about keeping a beady eye on things, and cawing raucously from time to time.

Most small animals were terrified of him. He had a very bad reputation.

When they saw his shadow following the curves of the grassy moors, they shivered with fright. Soaring darkly overhead, he seemed to enjoy causing them so much fear.

The crow was in his element when the weather was dull, wet and miserable. And if he sometimes enjoyed basking in the sun, he pretended he didn't. He revelled in rainstorms and loved sleety snow. He found it very good to roll in on misty days.

But one day during the autumn season, there was a terrible storm of such might that even the crow, delighted at first, soon became uncertain. And when he was whisked up without warning by a force that whirled him round and round as if he were nothing but a speck of dust, he was terrified.

High up into the dark sky he was swept, and like a poor spider in draining water, he had no control whatsoever over his destiny.

When at last the whirling wind grew bored, the crow was dumped in a hawthorn bush.

After the storm had passed the crow was very shaken. He tried to straighten out his feathers, but he didn't feel up to it at all. He flapped his wings a little, without much effect. He even believed he was no longer able to fly, and was very worried indeed.

It was late in the day. The last of the dark clouds had thinned out into dark crimson ribbons reflecting the last embers of the setting sun.

The crow wanted to get back to his ruin before dark. He made a few clumsy attempts to fly, but only managed to go short distances.
Had he been a sensible crow, he would have stayed the night in the hawthorn, then he wouldn't have attracted the attention of the fox.

The crow cursed once more as it desperately flapped to get off the ground, whilst the fox decided how best it should approach the bird to avoid its nasty beak.

When at last the crow caught sight of the fox, he became so alarmed that he painfully managed to take off and even gain height.
The fox felt cheated, but he followed the crow's flight still hoping that he wouldn't be able to reach the walls of the ruin.

The crow was exhausted when he finally succeeded.
It was almost nightfall. The fox circled the ruins then sat below the wall grinning up at the poor bird.

The crow was too tired to do anything. He ached all over, and the eyes of the fox staring up made him tremble. He passed a horribly uncomfortable night.

The next day was calm.
The sun rose behind a thin veil of cloud. The crow welcomed its warmth.

The fox had given up and gone home.  At last the crow felt he could rest.

As he slept he had a curious dream. He dreamt that he was hungry and the sun advised him to follow the rainbow. It would lead him, assured the sun, to where there was everything he could possibly want. So the crow followed the rainbow.
But as he did so, his dishevelled, murky feathers became sleek and pure white.

Where the rainbow shone down there was a beautiful garden. And there indeed was all the crow could ever wish for.


The crow shook himself and ruffled his black feathers. He felt utterly humiliated.  He had quite forgotten his dream.

He arranged his feathers and flexed his wings. It was late in the morning. He was beginning to feel quite peckish.

As he opened his wings he notice a little vole just beneath him, searching about in the short grass between the big, grey stones.
Very gently the crow then closed his wings, and without moving or making the slightest sound, he allowed the little animal to continue its quest in peace.

From the Rainbow Series

The illustration of the 'Croquemort Crow' is one of 'the animal series', some of which were published in two children's books, whilst others were first published as cards with 'doggerel' poems. By using this illustration, which wasn't done for 'the Rainbow story series, I am therefore 'killing two birds with one stone'- so to speak- for it also allows me to add the poem which goes with this particular illustration.

The Croque-mort Crow (Dirge)

In the ash-tree
Perched the Crow
Cawing baleful
Tales of woe

Deeds of sorrow,
Here today
And gone tomorrow

'Windswept weeds
With crape for widows,
Sackcloth, ashes,
Weeping willows.

Bleak and murky
Dismal drizzle,
Black and doleful
Dreary grizzle.

(Beneath the ash-tree
Now lies the Crow,
To rest in peace
Whilst daisies grow).
Nel frassino
Posò il Corvo
Scuro racconto.

Atti spiacenti
Qui oggi-
Domani partiti
Vestiti nel vento
Veli per vedove,
Sacchi e ceneri,
Salice piangente.

Tetro e tenebroso,
Triste pioggia.
Grigio e nebbioso,
Cupa malinconia.
(Al piè del frassino
Ora giace il Corvo.
Che riposi in pace
Mentre pratoline crescono).


Dans le frêne
Se trouva le corbeau
Coassant ses sinistres
Contes de bourreaux

Actes de chagrin,
Ici aujourd'hui,
Parti demain.

Vêtements de deuil,
Crêpe noir des veuves
Le sac et les cendres
Malheureuse épreuves.

Morne et ténébreux
Triste bruine,
Gris et misérable
Désolant ruine.

(Alors que maintenant
Se trouve le corbeau
Au pied du frêne
En profond repos).

A mourn, distainful cry
Muffled by the snow
Falling from the sky
Uttered by the crow.

The witches' avenger,
Harbinger of storms,
The devil's messenger,
Death in all its forms.

Languidly he flies
Cawing his refrain,
Casting cruel eyes
 On the shrouded plain.

The witches' avenger,
Harbinger of storms,
The devil's messenger,
Death in all its forms.

Who ventures in such skies 

Scorning the sleet and snow,
Making such evil cries?
The devil, he would know.

Text  and images © Mirino (PW) August, 2010 


Anna said...

just found your blog cause you visited mine and left a comment!
thanks for that!!!

I'd like to post your crow with a piece of the story on my blog with a link back to your blog of course, are you oké with that?

I adore crows!

Mirino said...

Hello Anna,

No problem, as long as you only use part of the story and not all of it,
and add the link as you propose.

The 'Rainbow series' of short stories (for children, or all ages) have never been published. Most of them inter-link creating a sort of circle of life, symbolised by the rainbow itself, of which half would be its reflection, in a lake, for example. They are also based on the elements, and in a way represent a simple, personal philosophy.

(If you click on the word 'Rainbow' next to the rainbow below the story, you will get the preceding story of the series).

Anna said...

great!!! thanks!
see for yourself here..

Mirino said...

Thank you.
I'm sure the artist will approve as well!