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Friday, November 12, 2010

Caw, Caw, Caw ~ Black Crow's Warning

There is a Native American legend that I always shared with my students this time of year.

It was believed that in ancient times, all crows were as white as the snow. The native Americans that roamed the plains in search of buffalo hunted on foot. It was a difficult life, and the people depended on the buffalo to survive. They used every part of the buffalo for food, clothing, tools, and shelter.

The crows were friends of the buffalo, and as they soared high above they could see everything that happened below on the prairie. When they spied hunters approaching a herd, the crows would swoop down to the buffalo and call out in warning: "Caw, caw, caw. The hunters are near. You must run." The buffalo would scatter and leave the hunters without a kill. With time the people began to starve.

Among the crows was one that was larger than the others and the leader of the flock. The people decided that they must capture this big white crow and teach him a lesson. They devised a plan.

A young brave would wear a buffalo skin with head and horns. He would graze among the buffalo as if he were one of them. As the hunters approached, the crow called out his usual warning: "Caw, caw, caw. The hunters are near. You must run." All but one of the buffalo stampeded away. So the crow flew down and perched on the lone buffalo saying: "Caw, caw, caw. Can you not hear? The hunters are near. You must run and save yourself."

The brave then reached up from under his disguise and grabbed the crow. He tied a cord to his legs and attached the other end of the cord to a large stone. The crow was captured!

The people met again to decide what to do with this bad crow who was causing them to go hungry. As they gathered, one impatient brave grabbed the crow and threw him into the council fire. At once the fire burned through the cord, and the big crow flew to freedom.

But the big crow's beautiful white feathers were now black from the fire, and as he soared above the people could hear him call: "Caw, caw, caw. I'll never warn the buffalo again."

From that day on, all crows are as black as the blackened scorched feathers of the big white crow.

You might be interested to know that crows are very intelligent birds and can mimic sounds. These large birds are often a problem for farmers and gardeners because they tend to live in large flocks which consume large amounts of food.

So if you have a garden, you just might want to add one of these.

Linking to

Image of the crow with white feather is from Sturbridge Yankee Workshop. As blackbirds are some of my favorites, I've ordered one of these for my own bookshelves.


  1. Fun story and great pics Sarah! Happy Weekend:@)

  2. Love your collection..and a dear story..

    I don't like my crows though:(

  3. You have a wonderful collection of black crows! Loved reading the story.

  4. I love the story! You have a beautiful collection of white/blacked birds.
    another friday's favorite for sure:-)

  5. What a delightful tale. I love your collection of crows. I also love your Native American bracelet! It is gorgeous. When I was at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Florida, they had crows flying over the castle, you can see them in my picture and they kept cawing just like in the Harry Potter movies. I am sure they were trained - sounds wierd huh, but there were no crows anywhere else in the park and they hovered over the castle. Very smart indeed.

  6. great lore...and yeah, they LOVE to eat!!! your crows are adorable. :)

  7. Have never heard this tale Sarah. It was great. We have lots of big black crows around here. I like to hear their caw caw caw. When I had a small garden, I had a scarecrow that looked just like me...LOL...never had a crow problem at all.

  8. Have never heard the story before now. They do like to eat and wipe gardens out.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  9. That's a wonderful story - I'll have to tell it to my grandsons when they come.
    We have many ravens around Pondside. They make a lovely sound and are very smart. The 'talk' to me!

  10. Wonderful, you retold the story well. Great SUE MARY as my little students would say!
    Did you ever read The Thanksgiving Treasure by Gail Rock? I read it to my students every year, a wonderful old fashioned story!

  11. What a great story, Sarah. You are so kind to share all your knowledge with us. I love reading your stories.

    I have a bracelet almost just like yours.
    We were visiting a Navajo reservation and I had wanted a big bracelet forever. I found a man making one but he wasn't quite finished. I asked if I could sit and wait and he pulled up a chair right beside his work table and I watched him finish the bracelet. I think my girl has it now. :)

  12. What a great story, Sarah. Now I will have a new respect for crows. Maybe I will share this tale when a student comes to me without the teachers sending any work to be done. I will do anything to interest them and get them to behave.

  13. Love your story~ I bet your students were all ears! Your collection is so fun~ I have to say they are the only bird I dislike...they are VORACIOUS eaters and we have had dock rope & boat damage from them. Your flock looks very domesticated and docile though :-) Love your scarecrow, maybe I need one of those on our dock, LOL!

  14. Hi Sarah, I did a scarecrow post this week too! The crows are really so clever, but also very cute in decorating. I have scarecrows and crows living happily together in my house. Linda

  15. Cute story, Sarah and love your

  16. Cool story! Wish I had known this one when I was teaching...
    Jane (artfully graced)

  17. What a wonderful story! I didn't have a scarecrow in my garden this year, but next year just for the fun of it, I might create one.

  18. i love native american stories, and your collection is wonderful! you just did a mini food for thought, a story with pictures :)

  19. What a great storyteller you are, I imagine your students would sit enthralled as you explained this legend to them.
    Great crow collection too.

  20. I enjoyed learning the fable of how crows got their color, Sarah. I'm sur eyour students enjoyed this storybook.

    I love the crow you have that is holding a white feather in it's foot..just perfect!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  21. Hi Sarah, that was an interesting story about the crow...didn't know they were smart either. Fun post! Linda

  22. I really enjoyed the story and all the beautiful pictures. Crows absolutely fascinate me. We have one that visits our backyard and I've nearly gotten him to the point where he'll perch right near me. Such a stunning fellow! Vanna

  23. Jeff adores crows, he is alsys trying to take photos of them but they are quite difficult to capture. They are very smart! Thanks for being a fathful reader, I am going to try to post more in the coming weeks!

  24. What an amazing story-never heard it and really enjoyed reading about it-thanks for sharing!

  25. Sarah, what a wonderful legend. I had never heard this, and you had me rivited to the story. I just know you were a wonderful teacher. I bet your students learned so much in your classroom. You have some great crows too, and I love that you have added a feather to one of them. That image will remind me of this story. What a great link to Favorite Things. Thank you. laurie

  26. Hi Sarah...

    I'm running a bit late...just now getting around to my Sat.Favorite's visits! What a fun post, my friend! I really enjoyed your telling of the legend of the black crow. This is my first time to hear it! I really enjoyed all of your beautiful black crows and vignettes...as well as those darling scarecrows! Thank you for sharing the story and your pretties with us today!

    Warmest wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

  27. You have a really fun collection, but I really enjoyed your story about the crow. I love folklore, especially that which is related to Native American Indians. My great-grandmother was half Cherokee.

  28. Sarah:

    Such a beautiful story. I had never heard of it. I'm sure your students were enriched by your tales and collections!

    Thank you for sharing your seasonal spirit with Seasonal Sundays!

    - The Tablescaper

  29. Wonderful story! I'll bet your students love listening to it.

  30. Sarah, you do tell a wonderful story. I enjoyed learning this, as I'm fascinated by Native American lore. We "think" my maternal grandfather was Native American. (Not sure who he is...) Anyway, now I get the whole scarecrow thing. I wouldn't want to scare them away though. I guess I'd just let them eat away. Because I love their gorgeous shiny ebony feathers.

  31. Fun tale. It certainly is crow time here. They do lend themselves well to folklore. Great seasonal post--Jacqueline

  32. Hi Sarah!

    What a fun post today! I enjoyed hearing the legend of the black crow. And you have a wonderful assortment of them.

  33. I love all these crows! At the Alternative High School where I work, the crow is our mascot. We have 4 crows that live at our school and our custodian feeds them. Even our logo has the crow on it. I loved the story! Kit

  34. Oh you have cute scarecrows too! And cute black crows...I only have a couple of them...but they do fit in perfectly!

  35. I love to come to your blog because I always learn something fascinating, Sarah! Loved this story and all of your neat crows and the cute scarecrow. You have so many treasures!


    Sheila :-)


Thank you to each of you who take the time to leave a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and will respond to any questions. Your notes are the only way I know who has stopped in for a visit.

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