• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 05
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The Man Who Feeds The Crows

He comes every day to the small park. It's not really a nice park; a row of trees on a triangle of mud and grass right next to the wire fence of the cemetery. It's mostly used as a toilet by the two bichon frises owned by the weird old lady living in the ground floor flat. I never understood why anyone would want to own a white dog. Their fur is always stained brown around their eyes and their anal orifices, and that's not the fault of the park. They finish their business around nine in the morning, and the man arrives half an hour later. He always wears an old black coat, a black woolen hat and black gloves; even in summer. I rarely see his face from my window, but there are a few strands of long grey hair peaking out from under the hat.

There's a tree stump right in the middle of the park, where the city landscape gardeners felled a dead tree a year ago. As every day, he walks across the grass, long steps over brown dog landmines, and stops at the tree stump. The crows arrive then. I never see them near the park before the man arrives, but as soon as he nears the tree stumps their kraa kraa kraa fills the air. There are about thirty birds circling the park, the cemetery and my house; some soon land in the grass or the trees and eye the man with cocked heads, some keep circling. They are all Hooded Crows, CarĂ³g liath as the Irish call them. In Irish legends, the Badb was a war goddess who took the form of a crow, and was also known as Badb Catha, battle crow. She was associated with war and death, appearing to foreshadow imminent bloodshed or to participate in battles, where she created confusion among the fighting warriors and fed on the discord of the carnage.

Maybe the crows sleep on the cemetery. Or maybe the man brings them with him. Wherever they come from, he feeds them. He digs into the pockets of his coat with both hands and brings out handfuls of peanuts that he places on the tree stump and then walks away.


The Man Who Feeds The Crows

As soon as he's gone, the grey-black birds swarm the tree stump, shouting and cawing at each other as each tries to gobble up peanuts in their beaks and fly to the nearest trees where they start hacking at the peanuts held in their claws.

Crows know how to open nutshells, pigeons and sparrows don't. Maybe that's why he feeds them.