Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Local Crows

A pair of crows 'moved' into my area a few weeks ago, taking up a permanent position at the top of a tree near my window. I've grown quite fond of them, despite their not-very-attractive noise.... they've been waking me up at the break of dawn every day, making me quite grumpy through lack of sleep.

But rather luckily for me, today they didn't appear until lunchtime... very lucky, as today is a writing day and I'm supposed to be productive and intellectually incisive! (Yes, maybe that'll happen when I've logged out of Blogger!)

I don't know why I like them really, apart from them being attractive and cheeky looking. I suppose they seem quite perky and curious about what's going on around them. If birds were people, I think crows would be quite interesting to spend an evening in the pub with, as I'd expect them to know their own minds and have interesting ideas about things.... not that one should attribute human characteristics to birds and animals, of course, there's a word for that, isn't there... no, not 'deluded'... Robin knows.

They often seem to be portrayed as harbingers of death and doom... there's a strange illustration from a Victorian children's book in John Morley's 'Death, Heaven and the Victorians' showing a bird from the crow family with a coffin on its back, covered in a funerary pall. Not very Tellytubbies or Bob The Builder, but we've got a very different attitude to death and children to the Victorians.

So here's an illustration of a crow, not as deathly, but as an intelligent creature, from Aesop's Fables. It was thirsty but couldn't get to the water in the jug, so rather cleverly, dropped pebbles into the jug, one by one, till it forced the water level up high enough for it to drink. The moral being: use your wits! As opposed to looking out of the window at crows, when there's lots of writing to be done....sigh...

Illustration is by Thomas Bewick, 1818, from Bestiaria Latina, a site with lots of illustrated versions of Aesop's Fables. I remembered it from Mathias Klang's blog months ago, when I was already getting sucked into the frighteningly time-consuming and addictive habit of blogging.


Robin said...

No never deluded- anthropomorphic - thats the word you're after love. Funny enough I just got copied into a loony email today from an art student who used exactly that word.
Love the Enid Blyton site- why is she so maligned I wonder - she got so many kids reading and the books were magical.

Claire said...

Yeah, that was the word I was after!

I know, lovely site! Poor old Enid... maybe she'll have a renaissance soon, or something like that! Do you think it's literary snobbery, or just the rigorously politically-correct lot being a bit overly sniffy?

Either way, I don't think she's done me any harm (or you, for that matter!)