This illustration was inspired by a number of people writing to me about the relationship between Owls and Crows. This story by M. Irene Hill followed:-
As The Crow Flies
By M. Irene Hill
Crow awoke to Owl's hooting.
“What's that you say?” Crow cawed.
“I do say, it's going to be a lovely day. Too bad I'm going to sleep it away. Night, night,” Owl hooted.
“Good morning - good night. Sleep tight in your tree.”
Crow stretched his neck and cleaned his feathers. He was proud of how they gleamed.
‘Shiny like my precious rock, black like the midnight sky,’ he thought.
“Indeed, it is a lovely day,” he cawed.
The sky was blue like a robin's egg, sun like a bright orange yolk.
He woke his brother to accompany him for breakfast. They squabbled briefly about where to eat, then agreed to fly North, where the forest fire had ravaged the mountainside two summers past.
“Look how big and ripe the berries are!” Brother cawed.
“I told you so,” said Crow.
“Indeed, they are the sweetest raspberries I've ever tasted. To think they were almost wasted. I'm glad we came.”
“I may be just your brother, but I know a thing or two. Like how fire can destroy things but it also can renew.”
They filled their bellies until red juice spilled down their beaks.
“I'm too full to fly,” groaned Crow, “and feeling rather bleak. Perhaps a nap and then we will fly home.”
“Indeed,” cawed Brother “my belly has a bloat.”
They rested on a slab of rock, warmed by the midday sun. They saw a clumsy little bear who was truly very young.
“Where is your mother, Little One?” asked Crow.
To this, the little bear replied that she did not know.
“A lost little bear in these woods is not good,” declared Crow. “We will help you find her, and then we really must go.”
Crow and his brother flew over the tree tops, followed the creek downstream to where over the cliff it drops.
“There!” Cawed Crow's brother. “I see Little Bear's mother, fishing by those rocks.”
They returned to where the raspberries grew to find Little Bear looking rather blue.
“I thought you'd flown away and left me here,” she cried.
“Never fear, I'm not that kind of guy,” Crow dried her tear with the tip of his wing.
“We found your mum,” squawked Brother. “I spotted her big brown bum. If we hurry we can catch up to her by tonight. I'm sure you've given her quite a fright.”
The trio travelled as quickly as they could. As the crow flies, it took them less time than it should.
Little Bear sniffed the air and stood on her back feet.
“I smell my mama,” and she let out a tearful bleat.
A crash of dead trees and underbrush as Big Mama rushed to her cub. They cried out to each other and reunited with a furry hug.
“I was so scared, Mama. The Crow Brothers found me and then we found you.”
Crow and Brother had done their good deed. They said goodbye and left for home; Crow took the lead.
The sun was tangled low in the trees by the time they arrived home. Moon was in the East, and it would be bedtime soon.
Owl hooted at them from his nearby tree. “Good day, I hope? Who and what did you see?”
“It was a lovely day as you claimed. We feasted where the reddest raspberries grow, then we helped Little Bear find her mum. Home in time to see the setting sun,” said the very tired Crow.
“Hoot hoot for you!” Owl said. “My day has only just begun.”
More can be found by M.Irene Hill on her twitter feed @_Irene_Dreams_