A Chapter from The White Crow
There comes a time in every civilization when it is compelled by life to welcome a second sun- whenever it rises. And so it was with Cawland- the habitat of the crows, the kingdom of black.
Prior to the epiphany, in fact Cawland was surfacing on the map as the emerging superpower, from its exemplary governance. Every crow was taken care of- the blackest of its needs. The land was blessed with plenty. Families thrived into generations and destinies lived out their karmas or rather cawrmas. Life perched prettily on Cawland. The rocks were sacred, the crows even worshipped them. It was believed that if a crow sat long enough on the rock, any wish was granted. And so even ravens from the neigbouring Raveland land visited the rocks, with special visas granted to them for spiritual reasons lest they be looked upon as ‘spies’.
One fine winter morning as the sun kissed the skies, the Corvos were blessed with their offspring. All couples rejoice when nature graduates them to parents. The mantle sits happily on most. But the Corvos witnessed a roadblock on their way to ecstasy. Corvos had given birth to ‘a white crow’. A white crow? That was the universe taking a 360 degrees turn! What happens when an event in such unique magnitude hits a civilization? Even the weather reflected the churnings of a storm that was about to brew in Cawland.
The Corvos were shocked as it had never happened to their brethren. Second came fear trotting along as to how the world would accept their special child. The news reached Cawking. Although his instinctive reaction was a pleasant contortion of his facial muscles into a smile, he was almost assaulted by the enraged Cawli community. The elders barged into Cawking’s castle, throwing open the gates to controversy. A ‘murder’ (that’s what they call a group of crows- a little birdie told us) of crows gathered at Cawking’s castle to put the little white mistake on trial. They demanded an apt decision on what seemed like the violation of creation itself.
“When each of us is gifted with this thick black velvet, how dare there be a white nestling among us? Something has to be done. We are visited by the devil and Cawland stands threatened.” The elders thus raised their grey hoods as they waxed eloquent on their impulse to banish the little white creation.
Among all this emotional mayhem, the Corvos gently nursed their infant. They had locked their doors to all of Cawland to abort their bloody intentions. Mama Corvo shifted the infant from the nest in the tree to a more secure hide-out, made especially by Papa Corvo. Papa Corvo was the master toolsmith in the whole of Cawland. As for Mama Corvo, how could a mother banish a part of herself ?
She would protect him now that he had chosen her womb and manifested . White or black, her child was hers. And they named him ‘Snowhead’.
The tribunal square echoed with protests and sighs from the enraged Cawli community. Finally, Cawking after listening to all sides of the story, asked his wife Cawqueen her opinion. Cawqueen was pregnant at the time and her womb ruled her head. “ As I see it, there’s no dilemma.
You obviously cannot kill that poor quirky infant. Just leave him to his fate. Please, I am scared, we are about to become parents ourselves…I don’t want this to weigh on my conscience.”
Cawking did not protest at the mother-to-be’s wishes.
Motherhood was all around. It even affected Cawking’s all-male chauvinism. The crowds eagerly awaited an answer. Cawking appeared proudly from his chamber and declared: “ The white cawli will live…” There was an uproar. Cawking instantly raised his feathers for silence. “The white cawli will be punished with life outside the Cawli community. That’s a punishment worse than death!” Alas, the ‘murder’ was proud their king had after all voiced their cannibalistic intentions. They cheered Cawking for this verdict.
“Long live the king! Long suffer the white cawli!”
Papa Corvo returned home and announced the news to his wife. Snowhead was banished from the Cawli community. They would even have to shift to Cawntryside.
“How will we live , isolated from all? How will we bring up our son?”, cried papa Corvo. But Mama Corvo who was as solid as a rock had quickly understood they had no time to grieve. “We can take our faith to keep us good company”, affirmed mama Corvo. She started collecting their belongings and wrapped Snowhead in a snug bag, made of twigs, thanks to Papa Corvo’s tool genius… Papa Corvo took a good look around at his favorite Cawcity where they had spent their lives. But any separation is less painful than separation from one’s child. Mama Corvo held his chin up: “Look up, darling…a new dawn awaits us…” And off they flew to their new home and new life.
That day, there was more than usual number of ripples in Cawlake. Even the marine creatures were abuzz with this exodus. Nature made a disapproving statement.
And it echoed all through Cawcity. Perched in solitude on the lone rock was Solah- The Great Spirit of the Land who was deep in concentration when he was woken up by faint noises, coming from a distance.
Solah opened his eyes and looked up at the Corvo family flying across. He saw a rainbow around the little bundle they carried. His deep wise eyes welled up with tears. “At last, you have come…and you are going away?” Solah assumed flight as he followed the Corvos to Cawntryside.
The storm had passed. Black had won over white. Life in Cawland resumed with its all-black community. There were even celebrations to mark this great event. Free corn was distributed to every Cawli home. But within the palace, Cawqueen wondered with a mother’s heart how Mama Corvo would bring up the white blasphemy in isolation. Cawking assured her all would be well: “Every cloud has a white lining… Let them discover it…”
And so were the humble beginnings of Snowhead who was now comfortably nestled in the mountains and woodlands and had to surmount huge black cawscapes on the way to life.