Trick

Trick

There was a clever crow who lived in a tree. She was clever because she lived in the tree even though she had a broken wing. She never flew, just hopped around, still doing many things normal crows do, just without flying. She would say she could could solve any problem with one wing tied behind her back. And it was true.

One day, she decided to tackle a problem she had never taken on before. She decided to become a mother. From what she had heard, it was a very daunting task. The other crows did not think she could handle it.

Some time later, the clever crow had convinced a mate to have babies with her. This was no small feat in itself, as crows mate for life. He could have and probably should have chosen a mate with two good wings. The life of a crow is not so easy, even without a broken wing. Still, crows value intelligence more than silly details like being able to fly. And the clever crow was certainly intelligent. He took a calculated risk.

Despite her broken wing, the clever crow was a good mother to her babies and a good mate. Her body stayed grounded, but her mind soared above even the other crows. She could gather as much food on foot as any crow with wings, and all her mate had to do was fly it back to the nest. She could protect herself without flying by running, hiding, climbing, and even fooling large predators. She was fierce enough to fight off smaller threats.

The one thing the clever crow feared was a fox. When she was younger, it was a fox that broke her wing. The speedy hunter snuck up on her and grabbed her wing with its jaws. Realizing she could not fly away, she fought, pecking the fox’s eye out. Even with only one eye, the fox had the advantage over a crow that could not fly. But the clever crow defiantly taunted the fox. “You have broken my wing, and with it, my ability to fly away. I am easy prey, now.” She shook her good wing at the fox and continued. “Come and break the rest of me. It will only cost you your other eye.”
The injured fox was no fool. She understood that she could definitely make a meal out of the clever crow, but if she was blinded in the process, it would most likely be her last. She disengaged without a word, only a sly grin.
. . .
The clever crow’s chicks got bigger and more boisterous as time passed and soon they were almost ready to fly. Unfortunately, being so loud, they attracted the attention of a predator, a fox. It is not common knowledge, but foxes can climb, especially when motivated by the promise of fat, juicy crow babies to eat.

Before the fox had climbed all the way to the nest, the clever crow spotted him and began climbing to her nest to contend with him.
When she caught him, he was on the narrow branch her nest sat on. Her mate was at the nest frantically coaxing their chicks to spread their wings and fly. Some were ready. Some were not.

The clever crow grasped the fox’s bushy tail in her beak and tugged to prevent him from advancing any further. The branch was so narrow that he could not turn around easily to deal with her and with her tugging at his tail, he could not proceed further. He struggled to turn around, finally managing to do so.

“You will not harm a single feather on my babies’ heads while I am alive to stop you.”, she declared while retreating to another, narrower branch, hoping the fox would be to heavy and clumsy to follow her easily.

“Then I’ll have to eat your, first.”, the fox replied. He gingerly went out onto the limb to collect his meal.
The clever crow puffed up, proud and defiant, saying, “If I have to trade my body for the lives of my babies, then I am ready.” Then she looked to her nest and her mate. “Hurry, husband. Get them to safety.”, she said with a resolute nod of her head. He said nothing, just continued to ready the last two chicks for emergency flight.

The clever crow retreated as far out as she could. The fox carefully followed. Each step weighed the branch down further, but he got closer and closer.
They were nose to nose when the last chick fluttered away. The chicks were all scattered. Some were on higher branches, inaccessible to the heavy fox. Some were in other trees, dispersed, but safe.

The fox looked over to the empty nest and grinned. “Well played, broken wing. It looks like you will be my only meal . . . for today.” He was so close that she could see how pointy his fox teeth were and could smell his breath on her face.

She grinned back and responded, “Not today.” Then, she spread her wings, one normal one and one broken, and flew away.

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