Once upon a sorry time! Once upon a time, there was a crow. That crow sat on her eggs in its nest, waiting for them to hatch. One chilly morning, in 1876 as the crow sat on her eggs, a slick, slithery serpent stole its way into the nest.
The smooth, sleek reptile, itself hatched in 886 when Alfred the Great defeated the Danes, punctured the eggs one by one, sucking all the yolk and white, and wiping out their viability once for all; doing so without the crow’s notice. After accomplishing its mission, the serpent slid out of the nest as stealthily as it had slunk in; all the while, never barging the mother crow’s slumber.
Like all incubating she-birds do every now and then, one warm afternoon, the crow left her nest for a minute or two to stretch and grab a snack, leaving her ‘eggs’ unprotected. It is then, in 1966 that tragedy struck – at least according to her. Alas, a hawk (kamunye) with a parting in his feathers swooped at the nest; and in a lightning’s moment, and with unimaginable ferocity, the hawk snatched all the ‘eggs’ from the nest.
A fierce tussle for the ‘eggs’ ensued between the two beasts of the air. It did not take the Kamunye long to register that it had swooped at empty shells, prompting it to jettison them into the undergrowth below, all without the notice of the combative crow. Thus the stage was set for an eternal, misdirected and futile feud between the hawk and the crow.
Weeks later, in 1986 another bird, (hatched in 1946), an ‘enigma, wrapped in a riddle, shrouded in mystery’ started gracing the airwaves. It is a bird that is one time a menacing vulture and another time the dove of peace; then another time, the wise old owl, yet another time a cuckoo that lays her eggs in other birds’ nests; then again an agile kingfisher and also a maladroit duck; one time an alluring rooster that heralds the arrival of a new day, and another time the hornbill that silences all feather wearers with its deafening melody, through 1996, 2006, who knows, 2016.
That Delphic new bird on the block shrewdly extricated the ‘eggs’ from the undergrowth and delicately placed them back in the now derelict nest, to the utter glee of the crow which has since then, continued to jealously and fiercely incubate the shells days on end, as new mating seasons continue to come and pass. And she whispers to herself that tragic lullaby, ‘Awangale’, ‘Hangiriza Agutamba’, ‘Rukirabasaija’, ‘Isebantu’, Irema………..ad nauseum.
Sorry! That was my story.
L/Cpl (rtd) Otto Patrick