The crow, keeper of the gate

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
This story is number one of my book Tales Unleashed...published in 2019...28 tidy
little 'tales of the unusual' as I call them. I think you'll like this one...it's one to make
you think about your next encounter with a crow.

Submitted: April 25, 2020

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Submitted: April 25, 2020

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‘The Crow, keeper of the gate’

 

 

Each morning as the new day would break, the single crow, high in his nest

 

would be the first to emerge from his overnight lodging of sticks and leaves

 

to survey the land below him. Sitting on the nest’s edge and preening his

 

feathers as he stretched, he would jerk his neck side to side, listening and

 

looking for anything new that might appear below. It was not quite daylight,

 

but the long shadows below him were already losing their hold on the

 

tombstones that lay beneath.  Nothing had changed overnight. The solitude

 

 of the morning was punctuated only by the crow’s call and a similar one coming

 

from way off yonder.  He was the king of his castle. His nest towered over

 

the fifty or so headstones that had been here for well over eighty years or more.

 

What a serene and pleasant place to nest, in the forest, high above

 

the mossy grasses and wild flowers that spawned their yearly gifts of fragrance

 

and color.  Today would be another day for the crow…he would fly and call

 

and search the vicinity, always with one eye, keeping track of what transpired

 

in or near his home base.  But few people came here.  The last two men in a

 

van with shovels spent almost a day here, opening a hole in the ground below

 

his nest and tucking a long wood box into the ground, then covering it before

 

speeding away right as night fall started to makes its entrance.

 

These grounds were quiet indeed, except for the occasional chipmunk or squirrel

 

moving thru the maze of stones, little happened here.  One particular day the

 

crow watched as a young buck came into his ground, laid down, and gently went

 

to sleep. Flying down to examine the deer, the crow saw the wooden shaft

 

protruding through its side, a fatal insertion he concluded as the young deer was

 

destined to move no more.  Oh my, it was hunting season again.

 

But today seemed different, the crow felt uneasy as he overlooked his domain.

 

Was something about to change today?  As he strained his neck to the east

 

he saw a vehicle approach the cemetery gate, enter, and make its way to the

 

bottom of his tree.  The truck disembarked two men, each smoking those

 

profane smelling things that the crow hated so much.

 

The crow watched intently as the two men opened the back of the vehicle

 

and started to remove some kind machine he had not seen before.

 

 Removing his hat and wiping his brow one of the men uttered,

 

 “This tree should have been taken down years ago Henry.

 

It has fouled about twenty yards of the cemetery with droppings, broken limbs

 

and sticky sap….it’ll be good to get it down.”

 

With that the furious noise of the chainsaw began.  The crow, still sitting on

 

his nest edge felt the buzz and vibration as the teeth of the saw found its mark.

 

Within a minute or so…the nest started to move, the crow taking to flight before

 

he could be pulled downward by the whirl of the falling tree.

 

As the crow circled over head, the two men congratulated themselves as they

 

surveyed the project just completed. His home was now gone, a change in

 

the tapestry of the forest that he could hardly comprehend. The crow settled

 

onto the top of one of the largest monuments watching as the men put their

 

equipment away and drove off. 

 

The crow wasn’t beaten though.  He took to flight and found another tree,

 

not as big as his original home, but ample nesting for his future days and nights.

 

Sitting on his new perch the crow nodded to himself, in a positive attitude, not

 

one of defeat. As he watched the vehicle go down the hill, the crow said to

 

himself, “You win today, but I will be in my new tree when someone someday

 

brings you back, and places you in that long box in the ground. I will always

 

be here, it is what I live for. Until then you two, enjoy what time you have

 

left before you return to my eternal place.”

 

The crow launched himself into the air, to celebrate his air, his home, his total domain.

 

 The crow above this orchard of marble and granite will be there, now, tomorrow, and

 

always….waiting for the next arrival at the gate, because he is the keeper.


© Copyright 2020 Stanley Swan. All rights reserved.

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