“Noah's Bird”

(Advanced 01 – The Folk Tale / The Storytelling Manual, May 17, 2007, ACT-Henlin)


Have you ever wondered why the Crow or the "Uwak" as we call it has such a bad reputation?  This bad reputation is especially true in stories like fables or fairy tales.  Somehow this bird is always portrayed as ugly, greedy and generally unpleasant to be with.  Now I’m sure that there are many explanations, but the version that I like best is one that comes from the Bible itself.  Who has heard of the story about Noah’s Ark?  Okay, everybody has heard of it.  It’s about God creating a Big Flood to destroy mankind which has become wicked.  But there was a good man named Noah that God wanted to save.

But this story isn’t so much about Noah nor is it about the Ark.  It’s about a bird, a Crow in particular, and how it came to appear as we know it today.


As the Bible tells it, when Noah finished building the Ark, he was summoned by God to put in the Ark a pair of every living thing on earth.  After 6 days, it started to rain.  It rained for forty days and forty nights.  Now think about that for a while.  If we had rain here non-stop for 3 days there will be floods everywhere.  Some houses and cars would be underwater.  But back then, it rained non-stop for 40 days and 40 nights and everything was underwater. 

After the 40th night, the rain stopped but the flood was still there.And Noah had to wait for a long while for the flood to go down.  After more than 100 days of floating, the Ark came to rest.  It hit something.  The Ark had no engine and no sail and so it couldn’t be maneuvered.  It just stopped moving.  Noah peeked out out a small window but there was still water everywhere.  So they waited more.  After 100 more days, Noah decides to open a window to see if it was safe to go out.  He could see the tops of some distant hills, but he was unsure.  He had no idea beyond what his failing eyes could see.  I mean the Bible said he was 600 years old at the time.600!  He didn’t want to open the Ark’s doors for fear of the mud and silt that would come in.  He had to be sure that it was dry outside.

So Noah devised a plan.  He called for his most trusted bird, the Crow.  He called for this bird because of its cleverness and toughness.  Now here’s a twist.(pull white crow puppet)  The Crow at that time was similar to a Dove.  Yes, it had beautiful white feathers and a beautiful soothing voice.  So Noah took the Crow and asked it to fly and see if the flood had subsided and if there was dry land.  So the Crow flew out. 

Stretching for miles and miles of marshy land below it, the Crow saw many dead bodies.There were dead bodies of people and animals lying all over the place.  The Crow became curious and swoop down to investigate.  It perched near the carcass of a dead horseSoon, it became hungry and couldn’t resist taking a bite from the dead horse.  Then the Crow settled on the carcass of another beast and did the same thing.  The Crow became quite content and wondered why she would still bother going back to the Ark.  Down there at the marsh, she was free from the Ark, free from the other animals and had food all around her.

Back at the Ark, Noah was getting worried.  He has become impatient of the Crow’s delay and so he sent for the Dove.  He instructed the Dove, saying, ‘Go fly out of the Ark and accomplish two things for me.  First, go and find out what happened to the Crow and second, find out if it’s already safe for all the animals to go out of the Ark.” 

Having received the instructions, the Dove flew out at once.  Immediately, she too saw the widespread destruction the flood had caused.  She saw the countless bodies strewn all over the land.  But she also noted that it was already safe for the animals to disembark from the Ark.  Without delay, she flew back to the Ark with an olive branch tucked in her beak.  On her way back, she noticed the Crow busy feasting on a dead body.  Realizing the urgency of her mission, the Dove wasted no time and instead headed back to the Ark.

Upon reaching the Ark, she presented Noah the olive branch which indicated to Noah that trees have regrown and it was safe to leave the Ark.  Then the Dove reported that she saw the Crow.  Noah was greatly pleased with the sincerity and dedication shown to him by the Dove.  He commended the Dove with words of praise declaring her from then on as the symbol of peace, purity and loyalty.  While happy with the Dove, Noah remained suspicious of the Crow who had just arrived.  Noah saw the dirty and foul-smelling Crow and cursed her in front of everyone saying “From here on, you shall turn black so everyone will know that you are bad.  You shall turn ugly and your voice shall become hoarse so that everywhere you go you shall be despised by man and beasts alike.  And since you eat dead animals, you shall be condemned to live on foul-smelling carcass all your life.”


And just like that, Noah’s words became true. (reverse the white crow to a black crow puppet)  The Crow turned from white into black.  Her features became ugly and her voice became hoarse and unpleasant to hear.  "Uwak, uwak, uwak!"  Ashamed of what she has become, the Crow quickly flew out as fast as she could.  And that, my friends, is the reason why the crow with its color and voice, has such a bad reputation.