Tuesday, November 5, 2013
The Crowned Corvids, Continued
The Jackdaw, Triumphant. Fourth in the Crowned Corvids series, which I am enjoying more and more as I get bolder with my designs.
The Jackdaw is a European species we don't have in North America, and is considered a variety of crow. There are stories about these birds, going all the way back to Aesop, who told a tale in which the Jackdaw wanted to be King, so he picked up a lot of fallen peacock feathers and paraded around in them, lording it over the other Jackdaws and then trying the trick among the peacocks themselves. It didn't end well, with the poor fool Jackdaw outcast from both the peacocks' society and his own.
A much later tale from the 1800s has him stealing a jeweled ring from a Catholic cardinal, and being caught out by the Cardinal's curses. Again, in the end, he was humiliated and brought down.
These stories made me think about the idea of "too big for your britches" -- of people having an intrinsic "place" from which we mustn't try to rise. I know that there's more to it than that; it's simply that I think the "don't pretend to be what you're not" stories can be a good thing or a bad one, because who's to say what you are, or could be? How many people have wasted their potential because "people like me don't [become wealthy, go to college, write books, whatever]"?
So I gave my Jackdaw a souvenir of his adventures with the peacocks, worn with pride; and in my tale, he got to keep that small treasure he found, because God has a sense of humor and the Cardinal was rich enough. It's possible in my world to both be who you really are, and be better than you were.
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