The Crow and the Moon

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  • Published: 27 Feb 2018
  • Updated: 27 Feb 2018
  • Status: Complete
The Crow loves the moon and wishes to have it for his nest. He flies off in search of the moon but finds something far more precious.

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1. The Crow and the Moon

The moon glowed bright in the midnight sky. Stars peppered the space around it like snowflakes and from the tree in the winter forest, the Crow watched them twinkle. The wind was cold and howled through the trees, making them groan and creak. All other animals had taken refuge in shrubs or in burrows deep underground, but not the Crow. Cocking his head to the side, he gazed longingly at the empty nest perched in the sheltered bow between two branches. He clacked his beak and let out a small, mournful caw. No chicks had hatched when the trees turned green; No fledgling taken flight when the flowers bloomed; No mate snuggled close when the leaves fell. The Crow was left alone in his nest, staring at the moon.

                If only he could pluck the moon from the sky like a berry and keep it in his nest – perhaps then he wouldn’t be sad anymore. When the moon had hidden behind the glow of the sun, the Crow took off, in search of a moon for his nest.

The Crow soared high above the bare trees, scanning the forest floor far below. He saw two rabbits hopping about playfully in the brown leaves and a crimson scarf fluttering from a branch but no moon. The sun was in the middle of the sky and the Crow was beginning to think about lunch when suddenly, he saw it. Something was sparkling in the gnarled roots of an oak. The Crow glided downwards, losing a feather to a thorn as he did so, and landed among the roots. He flapped his wings to clear the leaves and picked through the debris with his beak until at last he found it. A small piece of glass sparkled in the sun like a fallen star. The Crow cawed with excitement, picked it up in his beak and began the journey home.

The sun was just beginning to set when the Crow landed in his empty nest so he settled down with his piece of glass and waited for the moon to rise. When it reached its zenith, he hopped out onto the branch and held the glass up to the moonlight. But something was wrong.

Next to the moon, the glass seemed dirty and clouded – nothing like the starlight he had first thought. Sadly, he let the glass fall to the ground and returned his gaze to the sky.

 

When the moon had vanished once more, the Crow took off. This time, he knew he must fly further, past the trees and to where the humans nested. His wings ached at the speed that he pushed them but he was rewarded almost as soon as he saw the first human. Something shone around the neck of a female, but she hit at him with a stick when he tried to take it from her. Further on, a group of small males were playing with shimmering balls, but they threw stones at him when he got to close. Eventually, he resigned himself to picking through the rocks in the mud. He was about to give up and fly away from this scary place when his hard work was rewarded. Under a piece of plastic glinted a silver ring. The Crow fluttered his wings in delight and set off home, clasping the ring firmly in one claw.

Darkness had fallen when the Crow reached his nest and the moon rose quickly. He lifted the ring eagerly to compare it to the moon but was once again disappointed. By comparison the ring seemed dull and scratches marred its surface. The Crow let go and the ring fell next to the glass in the mud.

 

When the sun next appeared, the Crow had not slept. His head drooped against his breast and he could barely lift his wings but he flew anyway, determined to find a moon of his own. He flew deeper into the forest this time, above trees he had never seen. On the ground far beneath, he saw a juicy mouse, a patch of fat berries and four caterpillars. In his search for a moon, he had forgotten to eat. But though his stomach moaned at him, he did not stop – he had more important things to do.

As the sun touched the horizon, he found himself flying over a winding river. The water was murky and brown but he thought he saw something shining in the weeds at the bottom. The Crow circled close to the water until he found exactly what he was looking for. Taking a deep breath, he pinned his wings close to his body and dived into the freezing water. The current battered him about and for a moment, he couldn’t tell where the sky was. Then suddenly his head broke the surface and he dragged himself onto the bank. It took several tries to get the thing at the bottom of the river but when he did, he flopped on the bank, exhausted but satisfied.

What he held in his beak was a shiny round coin. The moon was now high in the sky and the Crow craned his neck to compare the two. He let out a caw of despair when he realised that he had once again failed. The coin, which had glowed in the setting sun could not capture the light of the moon. With a furious burst of energy, the Crow soared into the sky and threw the coin as far away as possible. It plopped back into the river.

Water logged feathers dragging him down, the Crow sank to the ground hungry and exhausted. He turned his head to the moon and closed his eyes.

 

“What were you doing diving into the river?” hooted a voice. “You’re not a duck, you know.” The Crow prised open a bleary eye. In front of him was a pile of round berries and behind them, a pair of large sharp claws. The Crow hopped upright and cocked his head at the barn owl towering over him and cawed in fright.

                “There’s no need to be scared,” twooed the owl. “You didn’t look so good so I picked you some berries.” Cautiously, the Crow jumped over to the berries and began to peck at them. They filled his belly quickly and soon he was staring at the moon once more.

                “What are you looking at?” the owl asked curiously.

                “The moon,” replied the Crow.

                “Ah, yes.” The Owl ruffled his feathers. “It is beautiful, isn’t it? But if you spend all your time looking up, you’ll miss what’s right in front of you.”

                “I want to find a moon for my nest,” the Crow told the Owl.

                “Did you not hear what I said?” quizzed the Owl. “Very well. If you are determined, then you must travel to the sea. At night the moon is reflected in the water and the water droplets capture it’s light. Every now and then, a pearl of moonlight will wash up on the beach. That is the only way you can keep the moon in your nest.”

 

                The Crow thanked the Owl and took off into the slowly brightening sky. He flew for a day and a night before finally arriving at the sea. It was as vast as the forest and home to nearly as many birds, albeit the crude, noisy kind. The Crow settled on a rock and savoured the warm sea breeze as he waited for the moon to rise.

                When it did, he took wing and flew above the dark water, watching the moon that shone above and the moon that glimmered below. He savoured the bright, white light and cawed with laughter as salt water sprayed his feathers. After he finished playing in the moonlight, he searched between the pebbles and dry seaweed for a piece of the moon.

                Finally he found what he was looking for. There, under a piece of driftwood, nestled a single beautiful pearl. It was perfect.

 

                The journey back to his nest seemed to take no time at all, the joy the pearl brought giving new strength to his wings. As he neared his tree, his nest, his home, the moon rose over the horizon. But something was wrong. Another bird was sat in his nest!

                The Crow flapped furiously as he landed on the branch and the bird in the nest jumped in fright. She cocked her head at him, cawing softly. The Crow blinked in shock. Before him was the most beautiful thing in the world. Her feathers were sleek and obsidian. Her eyes were large and seemed to open a door to her soul – she shined from within.

                Slowly the Crow edged towards her and placed the pearl in the nest at her claws. He did not glance at the sky once that night, nor any night after. He had a new moon to look at.

 

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