The charity of crows
by John MacBeath Watkins
My good friend John McCartney had an elderly cat who could eat only the softest of soft cat food, and didn't finish what he was served, so John would put the rest outside to be eaten by crows.
The crows were appreciative. John would put the bowl out, light a cigarette, and contemplate the crows at their dinner, a very soothing activity.
Then, the cat died. He achieved great age for a cat, and had a good life, so it was a fond farewell. It was the crows who really suffered, because there were no longer cat food leftovers to feed them. But crows adapt and survive, and they found food.
But they never forgot John's kindness to them, and still tended to hang around when he went out for a smoke.
One day, a crow walked up to him holding a worm in its mouth, and dropped it at his feet.
Now, there are different ways to interpret this. Perhaps the crow meant, "See? Food. Remember food? Why are't you feeding us?"
But I prefer a more anthropomorphic explanation. I prefer to think the crow was, in effect, saying:
"You know, we remember how generous you were to us when you had lots of food. We realize that you've fallen on hard times and no longer have dishes of extra meat to share, and well, me and the flock, we had a bit of a whip-'round, and, well, long story short -- here's a worm."
It's a bit like the story of the ravens feeding the prophet Elijah.
1 Kings, 17:6But was it the flesh of worms?
And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.