This is the tale that many have not heard
A story of the loveliest, most beautiful bird
And how she brought fire to all the land
As it was then, back when time began.
The crow, you may scoff, but it was then
More beautiful than what is now such an ugly hen.
She had luscious feathers every colour under the sun
Under which she basked and sang her sweet, sweet song.
It was a perpetual summer for all creatures to enjoy
Until the Creator magnanimously decided to employ
A deep, cold winter of shiny ice and bright snow
With flakes drifting down, lazily and slow
All creatures loved every floating downy flake
Until the sun went to bed and the warmth began to fade.
‘We’re cold!’ they cried, ‘we cannot survive
Without any warmth or food and someone must try
To convince the creator, he’s made a mistake
We cannot stay warm here amongst all these flakes
Of snow and ice and clouds of our breath. We’ll die’
They whimpered, ‘someone must try’.
They argued about who, but not for too long
Because just then the Owl heard the crow’s beautiful song.
‘Will you go?’ he pleaded, ‘You would be such a gift
To the creator to convince him to finally lift
This imperial winter, so that we’re no longer cold.
Please tell us, dear crow. Please say that you’ll go!’
And the crow stretched out her feathers of many colours,
And sang one last song to her sisters and brothers.
Through the night she flew, and the next day, too
Until the third day when the creator came into view.
The creator was busy and paid her no mind,
While he worked to hide more treasures to find
In the world below him and the crow sang her song
And he abruptly stopped and listened along.
She stopped her song as soon as he heeded
And to him she spoke and cried and pleaded.
She told him their woes, of the drifts and the snow
And how the old Owl had begged her to go.
When she finished her story, he looked at her with passion
And after a minute, he started to fashion
A torch from a twig and dipped it in fire
Putting the cool end in her beak and told her to fly
As fast as she could because the flame would not last
And she soared quickly back, her wings flapping fast.
The flames licked at her feathers and her throat became raw
But she flew ever faster, until she finally saw
Her home coming near, in gathered drifts of snow.
The eyes of the animals peaked out below.
She flapped her wings mightily, beating against the wind,
the flames charring her feathers,starting with the ends.
She breathed in the smoke and coughed and sputtered.
But she flew onward fast, seeing friends, waiting in a cluster.
The crow finally landed and handed the torch to the owl.
‘It’s fire,’ she croaked, surprised at the new sound
of her voice. He took the flame from her and handed it to another,
and look at her with pity, his eyes brimming over.
‘What a great sacrifice you’ve made’ he said, ‘it was right for you to go’
And she finally saw that the reflection in his eyes showed
That her feathers, once colourful and shiny and bright,
Were now covered in soot; blackened and tar-like.
She cried out but her voice, instead of a sweet tune
Was raspy and dry and cracked and crude.
But the crow saw the happiness on the faces of her friends
As they warmed themselves by the flame that had brought the end
To her beauty and sweetness and loveliest song.
And she knew right then she had done no wrong
Her sacrifice would keep them safe when it was cold
And herself, too, and when she was old
She would look at her black feathers and still see the sheen
Of the rainbow colours that had once gleamed
All creatures would remember, the sacrifice she made.
Every time the sun shone on her feathers
The beautiful rainbow
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