Fable of the Crow

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The Crow was fond of talking and traveling and shiny things. Only one in the woods answered her call and matched her wits. He was the Raven, handsome and solitary and wise from his many years.

Before too long, they were birds of a feather, building a grand nest together. All the magic of the forest was theirs.

The Crow collected shinies—gifts from her friends in the woods. At first, the Raven had many questions.

“I can see the worth in these gifts of power. But what of these gifts of |c990000mystery|r?”

“They reward my |c990000curiosity|r,” answered the Crow.

“And these gifts of |c990000loyalty|r?”

“They were given to |c990000protect|r me. They strengthen our friendship,” Crow explained.

“It is an awful lot of unexpected |c990000charity|r,” the Raven observed.

“My friends are |c990000compassionate|r. It is good to share things. Like our nest! There is plenty of room for us and more.”

Though the Raven quickly lost interest in these curios, he saw they made the Crow happy, and made no complaint when she stashed these gifts beneath their grand nest.

One day, the Raven told the Crow he was thinking of bartering their nest. The Crow was distraught. What could her Raven have possibly considered trading their nest for? And to whom?

He told her a Stranger offered to trade it to him for a star. His eyes glittered with a longing she had never seen before. The Raven spoke of what wondrous things he could do with such a shiny gift.

Had something changed in him? Or had he always been this way? The Crow couldn’t say. Nor could she stop him. Once the Raven’s bargain was in motion, there was no going back.

The Raven knew he had done wrong. He offered to help the Crow move what he could of her cache beneath the nest. But the Crow refused. If they were incomplete, if they were seen, if any of the gifts from her friends fell in the hands of the Stranger, it could spell disaster.

So the Crow chose to leave her treasures hidden and under secret guard. She plucked her own feathers, practically enough to make another crow. And without fully realizing how she’d done it, Feather-Crow was born in her image, a being not unlike her friends of the forest.

Crow told the Feather-Crow to hide herself among the dark leaves and guard her gifts. Crow could not promise her return. She would leave this place. Her feathers would grow back. She would build a new nest.

From that nest would come fledglings fed on the tales of Crow’s grand treasure, the gifts given by her friends of the forest. Where others saw dark leaves, the fledglings would recognize their mother’s feathers.

But Feather-Crow came from Crow. For all their talk of adding others to their nest, Feather-Crow knew it remained barren.

“Then let the fledglings come from anywhere,” the Crow decreed. “So long as they have the strength to |c990000make a vow|r to embody the virtues of my friends in the forest, their gifts and magic will be shared with them in return.”

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