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My Friend Harry: His Crow Story
Harry was a good friend and a special person. His full name was Harry St.Clair Spencer. Born and raised in Windsor, Nova Scotia, he had Native ancestry which he said was Kootch. He was a man who knew much about the ways of birds and animals, and I think that perhaps he was particularly fond of crows. He certainly travelled the woods a great deal in his younger years, and must have had numerous opportunities to observe the crow. He told this story:
You know, when you spend a lot of time in the woods, you see the strangest things. One time I was out the woods road when I heard a lot of flutterin' and goin' on. I turned toward the sound, and pretty soon I came on to a little clearing, and in that clearing was a bunch of crows settin' around on the ground. What I noticed next was that they was settin' around pretty much in a circle, and in the center of that circle was a dead crow! They kept settin' there, quiet like, and once in a while they would start up mutterin', you know, just makin' this odd, soft little mutterin' sound, and that sound went all around the circle of 'em. I watched for quite a little while. Looked altogether like a funeral. After a bit, I looked away just for a couple of seconds, when I heard a loud, sharp call go out. There was a great flutter of wings, and all of 'em took off right sudden like. And you know, when I looked around, that dead crow was gone too.
People like Harry were special because they travelled the forests a great deal; they had practical knowledge about how to live independently, without always having to rely on others for their survival. But, as importantly, people like Harry still had that sense of wonder, of faith, and sensitivity which many of us lack today. It was those qualities which gave Harry the inspiration to roam about the forests, and rewarded him with the rare gift of a crow circle. In some cultures, this would be considered an important event in one's life (for example, among traditional Algonquin peoples). It is a rare medicine gift. It indicates that a person has developed a certain degree of spiritual power.
This story was taken from my book, Black Spirit: The Way of the Crow, Nimbus Publishers, Halifax, N.S., 1996. ISBN 1-55109-152-6
Black Spirit: The Way of the Crow, is now released in eBook form! Click the link, below, to visit the site. The site will open in a new window.
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