Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Raven's Last Supper

Upon a thick gnarled branch sat a raven. He was a handsome bird, and not without his faults. His two main vices were: eating berries and thinking too much of himself. The berries he loved the most were inside the landscaped gardens of the large white house on the hill. The people who lived there disliked him very much, and had laid many traps for him to stop his berry eating. But the raven was as smart as he was handsome and no matter how hard they tried, they couldn't stop him from stealing the delicious, juicy fruit.

On one occasion, the people had placed a bowl of the sweet berries inside a large birdcage. The raven found the test irresistible. With one strong wing, the raven kept the door lifted as he slurped the berries into his gullet, then sat hidden in the branches of the tall oak bemused as he saw the people examine the empty cage and bowl, scratching their heads in disbelief.

Another time, they installed a fine mesh net over the bushes. After his sharp talons shredded the net, he ate more than his fill out of pure spite. He barely managed to lift his haughty frame into the air as a shovel came whizzing past his head, swung by the lady of the house, who had been gardening nearby. It had been close, to be certain. But as he slowly digested his meal and shined his black feathers with his stout beak, he smiled. The people would never outwit him.

On a particularly fine day, while gazing at his reflection in the still waters of the pond, that aching feeling came over him. Hunger. And when the raven was hungry, there was only one thing to eat- the sweet, red, juicy, delicious berries in the yard.  Over the tops of the trees the raven flew, silhouetted against an azure sky, his mouth watered in anticipation.

From the air, he spotted the bush. It was extra full, nearly folded over with its tasty crop. He dropped lower to the ground, looking for what he was sure would be there- a trap, a puzzle, a new-fangled contraption- something which the people would foolishly believe could stop him, and which he would undoubtedly overcome. But, there was nothing.

The raven drew closer to the ground, still circling. There was no cage, no net, no trip wires, no tape, no sticks, not a single thing standing between him and his supper.

“They’ve given up.” He cawed with glee. “They’ve learned that there’s no stopping a genius raven like me.” A moment later, he was tail-feathers deep in the bush, munching on the berries without a care in the world.

So busy was he, that he didn’t notice the sleek, black fur parting the grass.

So busy was he, that he didn’t see the large, round pupils or long, black whiskers below.

So full of conceit was he, that he didn’t ponder for a moment why the songbirds had all gone quiet.

With a pounce and a momentary rustle of leaves, the berries were safe, and someone other than the raven, was contentedly full from lunch.