Little black bird.
She was small tiny in fact.
She looked different.
So she was not one of them she didn’t belong. Hatched in the wrong nest.
The king of the crows had said her mother had been a visitor laying her egg in a nest in the huge yew tree here in the churchyard leaving it to be hatched by one of the kings mates.
Little bird had emerged small scrawny and different she didn’t fit.
The only thing about her that was like the crows she lived with was her colour.
She was blacker than the night.
Every day she was reminded that she wasn’t like them smaller not good enough she lived there but she didn’t belong there. But no one seemed to know who her real mother was or anything about her so that was that she had no place else maybe one day her mother would return and they would fly away together.
Now the king of the crows was big and mean she had learned not to upset him she would dodge the sharp elbow of his mighty wing his shrill caw and she had many scars from his sharp beak any chance he got he would jeer at her she had tried in the beginning to please him thinking that one day he may accept her. But that was not to be he didn’t want her in his flock but he wouldn’t allow her to leave. Still she never gave up hoping.
She helped where ever she could in spring she would collect straw hair and anything else to help build new nests sometimes a scrap of wool caught on the barbed wire by the farm gate.
That was as far as she had ever flown.
The wheel of the year turned.
She would sit on the gate and gaze across the fields she watched the seasons change the lambs grow into sheep, the trees and hawthorn’s bud and flower and the leaves fall. She wondered what was beyond the green fields one day she would be brave enough to find out.
For now she was content to live in the tall yew tree she would wait until everyone had eaten before she dared to look for what scraps were left she survived by living and blending into the shadows.
It was spring the morning sun was warm on her black feathers she had been busy building her new nest she had moved higher up the tree she didn’t seem to fit in the cozy small nest she had built last spring new eggs began hatched young were born and raised their gathering grew but not her eggs the king would not allow it he would fly into a rage smash her eggs kill her young tiny and vulnerable before eyes they didn’t stand a chance. No one in the gathering dared to challenge him for he was the king is word was law. Was she ever to be free?
Then one warm summers evening as she glided alone on a warm summer breeze she was startled by a whoosh of wind as a beautiful huge black bird flew past her.
She watched as he darted and glided this way and that his call was different louder deeper than the kings and his feathers were darker she followed him as he landed stealthy on an old oak tree on the other side of the farm gate..
He tilted his head looking at her
‘Where do you come from?’ she asked.
‘Across the farm beyond the mountains far from here.’ he said preening himself
The sun shone as they spoke of other worlds green valleys and oceans and the little birds heart fluttered.
‘Could I go to this place?’ she asked
The beautiful bird cawed and laughed. He tilted his head his eyes were brown and in them she saw a reflection looking back at her.
She let out a caw, louder and braver than she dared to in the church yard.
It sounded just like the big black bird before her.
‘Yes’ he said seeing the surprise on her face.
‘You can go anywhere, you are a Raven we are strong and brave warriors of our sky’s ’
‘Me a Raven?’ she laughed ‘‘yes you.’
Why are you nesting with the crows their king is not a good being. His heart is blacker than his feathers.
She nodded for she knew more than anyone this to be true.
‘But I don’t know where I truly belong’ she answered bowing her head.
‘Fly from here fly south look for the mountains and green valley’s there are others like us you belong anywhere you choose to nest.
‘Do not be afraid any longer you are brave and strong remember you are a warrior now if you doubt this look into the river at your reflection and remember me remember this day.’
She flew back to the woods cawing out thanks to the Black Raven.
The king crow was getting old now his eyes were failing and suddenly she realised he wasn’t bigger or stronger than she she looked at him with new eyes and the fear she had felt for all those years roosting in the yew tree began to leave her.
She puffed up her chest and cawed loudly as she flew down to the place by the river where her smashed eggs and young were buried.
She looked at her reflection.
I am a warrior she whispered a Raven.
Her heart banged in her Raven chest she felt a new strength she was no longer afraid lo leave.
in this small woodland that had been her home since she had hatched in the wrong nest.
Tomorrow was a new day a new beginning a new life.
She ruffled her feathers looked up at the ink black sky and the dark new moon a million stars twinkled above her and she slept.
The next morning the sun came up she drank from the stream and caught sight of her reflection again in the water a raven warrior with new determined look in her eye.
She was no longer the tiny bird the outcast who had taken so many beatings.
She cawed loudly. ‘Goodbye forest of my youth.’
Goodbye gentle winding stream and ancient yew tree f my ancestors thank you for my shelter and quenching my thirst.
She heard King caw a cruel laugh behind her.
‘Little bird’ he jeered. ‘Who do you think you are?’ ‘Where do you think you are going?’
‘I am Raven a warrior I am not your little bird I am mighty brave and strong that is who I am. Today I shall fly and find my own path far from here.’
The kings eyes grew dark flashing anger ‘You dare speak back to your king you defy my orders?’
‘You would choose solitude and loneliness this is your place.’
The other crows crowded and gathered around waiting in hushed silence for her to answer no one ever left this gathering no one ever left or defied the king.
Raven puffed out her chest and spread out her wings ‘I am not your little bird. I choose freedom’ there was a gasp from all who gathered as Raven circled for the last time above the small woodland that had been her roost.
The warm winds carried her south. Warm sun shone on her feathers and hope beat a drum inside her brave Raven heart.
She was free.to find her place in the world.
Raven Wordsmith 🖤