Digital Dimdima

AROUND THE GLOBE TALES

Why Crows are Black

The Sun while going on his daily rounds saw a princess and fell in love with her. Whenever he could slip away from the heavens he would take human form and go down to the princess to spend some time with her. The princess too became quite fond of him and would wait for him to come.
One day the Sun decided to send her a blood-red ruby as a token of his love for her. He put the gem in a silken bag, and calling a crow that was flying past, asked the bird to deliver the gem to his beloved. Crows had milky white feathers in those days and it was considered auspicious if a crow came anywhere near you. So the Sun was pleased that he had found a crow to deliver the gem.
As the crow sped through the sky with the silken bag, the aroma of food reached its nostrils. Looking down it saw that a wedding feast was in progress, and immediately it was distracted from its mission. Food was one thing it could never resist!
Alighting on a tree nearby, it hung the bag on a twig and went off to find some food.
While the crow was feasting, a merchant passing by saw the bag on the tree, and knocked it down with a pole.
When he opened the bag and saw its contents he almost swooned in joy. Quickly pocketing the ruby, he filled the bag with dry cow dung that was lying there, and then deftly returned the bag to the branch.
It was all done so quickly that the crow missed all the action. After having its fill, it flew up to the tree, and picking up the bag took it to the person it was intended for. The princess was in the garden. When the crow gave her the bag, she took it eagerly, knowing that it was from the Sun. But when she saw its contents she reeled back in shock and anger.
Believing that it was the Sun's way of telling her that he did not care for her, she flung the bag away, rushed to her palace, and never came out again.
When the Sun learnt of what had happened he was furious. So great was his anger that when he turned his scorching gaze on the crow, its feathers were burned black.
Its feathers have been black ever since.
The story goes on to tell us that the ruby did not stay with the man who stole it. It fell out of his pocket and rolled into a deep pit.
Men have been trying to dig it out ever since. Many precious stones have been found in the process, making Burma (now Myanmar) one of the richest sources of rubies and sapphires, but the ruby that the Sun sent to the princess has yet to be found.

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