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Tuesday June 19th 2018Tim Candler9

 

    A member of my extensive parental side had a story about Crows. It was wartime, he'd escaped prison, he was on the run, food and shelter harder and harder to find. One isolated farmhouse became almost like a home, it was high in a valley, and as the night came he'd return from foraging for his own contribution to the warm kitchen table and he could hide in the hills look down at the farm house, check to see whether soldiers were visiting, which they'd do sometimes in their search for partisans, escapees, whatever they could find. The farmhouse had three resident Crows, but a good chance they were Ravens. The birds were fit, well feathered, agile in the sky, they were usually content and they roosted in the farm's ancient stone barn. The farmer was long gone, he'd been killed in the war, the farmer's children, both boys, had grown and were gone to know one knew where, but their elderly mother still managed the farm as she waited for her children to return, and she was pretty good at hiding food and livestock from occupation soldiers who were always hungry, well armed and entitled.

 

Past

     One evening, looking down at the farmhouse, there was no sign of soldiers and the coast looked clear. But the Crows were absent from their evening chatter on the barn roof. Maybe they'd had already settled in for the night. There was a chance with spring on its way they'd set their minds to wandering. Possibly they'd all fallen to a shotgun. There were easy answers. And yet, he remained where he was, cold in the chill and damp just two thousand yards from shelter. In the morning, there was glint of sun on the barn, the farmhouse kitchen door opened, cigarette butts casually tossed to see if the farmer's wife would pick them up, save them from the dew so she could smoke them in her pipe. Then a military vehicle which had been hiding inside the barn fired up it's engine. Off they went so as to be in time for breakfast at their barracks, the Crows circling and silent in the sky above them. And the thing about it was, soon after his escape he'd once been rescued from starvation by a little girl who'd given him a European Robin to eat. Shown him how to cook it, insides and all, nothing wasted. European Robin is about the size of a Sparrow.

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