Beast

Sources : Crow

Ovid [1st century CE] (The Metamorphoses, Book 2, 531-566): The garrulous Crow followed with flapping wings, wanting to know everything, but when he heard the reason, he said ‘This journey will do you no good: don’t ignore my prophecy! See what I was, see what I am, and search out the justice in it. Truth was my downfall. ... I was stretching out my arms to the sky: those arms began to darken with soft plumage. I tried to lift my cloak from my shoulders but it had turned to feathers with roots deep in my skin. I tried to beat my naked breast with my hands but found I had neither hands nor naked breast. I ran, and now the sand did not clog my feet as before but I lifted from the ground, and soon sailed high into the air. - [Kline translation]

Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 10, 14): If a nut is too hard for a crow to crack with its beak, it will carry the nut into the air and drop it on rocks or roofs until it breaks. The croaking sound of a crow is thought to be unlucky, particularly during its breeding season. Unlike other birds, crows continue to feed their young even after they can fly.

Aelianus [170-230 CE] (On the Characteristics of Animals, Book 3, chapter 9): Crows are exceedingly faithful to each other, and when they enter into partnership they love one another intensely, and you would never see these creatures indulging freely in promiscuous intercourse. And those who are accurately informed about them assert that if one dies, the other remains in widowhood. [In the bestiaries this story was applied to the turtledove.] - [Scholfield translation]

Saint Ambrose [4th century CE] (Hexameron, Book 5, chapter 18.58): We find this [love of their children] to be a normal sentiment among crows, who form a constant escort to their offspring in flight. Solicitous, too, lest perchance they may become weak because of their tender age, they strive to supply them with food. They continue to perform this function for a long time. - [Savage translation, 1961]

Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 7:44): The crow is an old bird. Seers say that it increases anxiety by the indications it gives, reveals ambushes, predicts rain, and foretells the future. But it is a great wickedness to believe that God gives his counsel to crows.

Gerald of Wales [c. 1146 – c. 1223] (Topographia Hibernica, chapter 17): there are no black crows in this country, or they are very rare; they are all parti-coloured. These birds carry up small shell-fish into the air, and let them fall on the rocks by the sea shore, that, not being able to crush the shells with their beaks, they may be fractured by collision with the stones, after falling from a great height. Thus the old enemy, with malicious guile, after raising to the highest pitch of honour those whom he was unable to pervert when in a humble condition, boldly assails them, in order that, neglecting the duties of their station, or wavering, from being puffed up with arrogance, the higher they have been lifted up the greater may be their fall into the depths of sin, and the more severely he may bruise and crush them. ... It is a remarkable fact respecting these birds, that although in other things they are the most cunning of all fowls, their natural instinct fails them in choosing suitable situations for their nests, in which other birds, however silly, manifest great ingenuity. For they build their nests in a public road, or any other frequented place, or on a fallen tree, or a stone; never thinking of the winds, or apprehensive of the access of snakes or men. Thus, however a man may be distinguished by vigour of genius and the endowments of wisdom, if he abandons himself to licentiousness, and is ensnared by lust, he pays little regard to temperance and modesty. - [Forester translation, 1863, chapter 17]