Saturday, February 20, 2010

Crows Remembered




When I was young I had a book,
In which I often used to look.
The pictures, in an olden style,
Would make me cry and make me smile.
I lost the book in War's alarms,
But still I pondered on its charms.
The story was forgotten too,
As old books were replaced by new.
I only knew that there were crows,
Lined up in trees in long dark rows.
And I recall the plaintive cry,
As crows sent mourning  notes on high.
The words that always touched me so?
'There is no joy unmixed with woe.'
Today, the picture up above,
Set me nostalgically thinking of
The book, the pictures and the loss.
What a lovely thing to come across!
For I Googled and at last I saw
The very book I was searching for!
I photographed it from the screen!
It was exactly what I had seen
As a little girl of seven or eight
(I think we'll just ignore the date!).
So I'm reproducing here, below,
The pages that entranced me so!
The story's sad, but as we know,
'There is no joy unmixed with woe'.

Here are a few of the pages from the book.

The Title Page

The crows build their nests.

The chicks hatch out; Mother has a warning.

The farmers fear an infestation of crows.

A Scarecrow is no help at all!

The farmers arm themselves with guns.

The baby birds are slaughtered!

The farmer and his family enjoy Crow Pie!

The parent crows mourn their dead chicks.
Children's literature has changed quite a bit since the 1870s when this book was created, hasn't it!
Incidentally the book was already seventy years old when I was reading it.
 Another childhood memory here:


Jo said...

Brenda, I love old books and have several at home. Some I inherited from my mum and dad and I also buy from second-hand booksales. Is the part "lost in wars alarms " for the sake of the rhyme ie do you still have the book. What a sad story. Back in SA the crows were poisoned by the farmers but seem to have made a big come-back in recent years. Thanks for sharing this memory.

Margaret Gosden said...

Love the Doubigny print heading your post!

Kat said...

Wow.... a 160 year old poem story..!!!

Amongst many things lost because of the Hitler boy sad to note the loss of your favourite book..!!!

You may warmly note that the crows these days are pretty smarter..!!!