Ocker Teaches Blodwen


The moment Blodwen leant aside for more apples for her pan of water, Ocker and Urr-Urr rushed at her other pan and snapped up several apple slices apiece.”Hey fowl!” she cried, hoplessly too late as they buoyed themselves above the reach of her swat with a couple of flaps and settled at the far end of the board.

bn_raven“Yea?” said Ocker as he gobbled down his slices. “Ravens is the kind we happen to be, if ye want to sound like you know things, dear. And by the way, nice apples.”

“Thieving vermin is what,” she growled. “Ye’re damned well told, nice apples! I sliced ’em.”

“Good for you, sweetheart,” he said as he lunged into the air to hover over her shoulder. “You owe us.”

“Just how in all the chiming bells of Golltowre is that?” she said, turning square
about on her seat in time for Urr-Urr to grab out more slices from her pan and lungeimages
into the air.

“Damn you varmints!” she cried, wheeling back to her pan.

“Listen quiente,” he said, hovering at her ear, “you owe us because Meri Greenwood would never have got here without us. And if you had any sense you’d see hit. And while you’re a-wising up, shouldn’t someone be looking after Meri?”

“What?” she said.

“What’s going to keep him from going all crazy and beating up the old hag,anyway?” he said, settling onto the table by Urr-Urr to take one of her slices. “If she’s as
confounded ugly as these two, he might.”

Closeup_North_Amer_Crow_t700“Look ‘ee here!” cried Hubba Hubba. “These old ladies are nice!”

“Yea?” rattled Ocker. “What do you know about it, fraud? You ain’t even a bird.”

“I’ll have you know I’m a double yellow-head Amazon…”

“Popinjays never made it all the way to birddom, hole!”

“And nobody owes you the time o’ day…”

“Well Hubba Hubba,” said Minuet, “I do owe him my life…”

“He’s that very Ocker?”

Minuet and Razzmorten both nodded with twinkling eyes.

“Well maybe if he just watched his mouth…”

“Hey, I’m just distracted, Yellow Crow,” said Ocker with wide-eyed smacks of his beak, gobbling down another slice of apple. “I mean, we brought Meri all the way here,and now his whole world just caved in on him, don’t ye know…”

il_570xN.408687206_rfku“Whosoes woreld hath juste kaaved in?” said Meri as everyone in the room stopped short at the sight of the radiantly gorgeous Celeste on his arm.

“You fixed her,” awked Ocker. “You going to pretty up the other Fairies, too?”

“Ich didde nat,” he said as he and Celeste knelt before a speechless Minuet. “My gracious Queene. Wolt thou us to marye this verray howre? In dede, wolt thou plesebeauty-blue-hair-emo-green-hair-Favim.com-1014236
marye us byforn weo risen fro oure knees?”

“Why, there’s nothing I’d enjoy more!”

“Thanne byforn weo to risen, plese do,” said Meri.

“But you need a bouquet,” said Nacea.

“And shulden nat weo for this to reherse?” said Alvita.long-blue-green-hair

“Swyven off, you two!” said Ocker. “They want to nest.”

“Plese,” said Celeste. “Byforn my lokes dekay. Everych oon plese stant with us. Ocker, perchestow on Meri, if thou woldest. Every brid on a shulder. Ceidwad and Lladdwr, my derre children, plese yeve me awey.”

The room hushed at once to hear the joyous vows.

Ch. 15, The Reaper Witch


They heard wings in time for Ocker to land on the board in front of Blodwen. “Hello, Apple-Slice,” he said, running his beak down a flight feather.

162767579_a-basket-of-apples-giclee-print-by-august-laux“No!” snapped Blodwen, covering her pan with her arms. “Beat it!”

“Hey Apple-Slice,” he croaked, walking right up to her pan with a cock of his head. “Better look out for Urr-Urr.”

At the sound of wings behind her, she threw her chin to her shoulder to see.Quarter-the-Apples

Ocker grabbed up a huge beakful of slices and flew to the mantle.

“Look out Blodwen!” cawed Hubba Hubba, right before Urr-Urr grabbed a slice from the other side of the pan.

“Shut up Two-Head,” said Ocker, setting his mouthful at his feet.

“You’re in on it too, Hubba-Hubba?” said Blodwen as she watched Urr-Urr fly away with her prize.

“No!” cawed Hubba-Hubba. “I was only trying…”

“Thanks Two-Head,” said Ocker. “Urr-Urr would never ‘ave got hers without yourhelp.”

“Hey! I was not trying to help Urr-Urr.”

“Don’t you birds ever learn?” said Blodwen as she covered her pan with a bread board.

“You’re the one who won’t learn, quiente,” said Ocker. “We had you figured out the moment we saw you. That’s why we’re still having to give you lessons.”

Ch. 17, The Reaper Witch




Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

ESP in Harris’s Hawks and Big Kitties

Years ago, an article in This Week Magazine proved to us that extra sensory perception (ESP) was indeed real. An article in the magazine provided two sets of six cards to cut out, with a colored picture of a different simple object on each card. One person spread out his six cards and stared at any single one of them for one minute. Out of sight in the next room, another person stared at the entire lot of his matching cards for the same minute, then picked out the card which matched the one he felt the person in the other room had been staring at. There were several trials for each pair of people being tested, and scores were kept. The scores showed without a doubt that most of the time I knew what cards my mom and dad were looking at, but I seldom knew what card my brother-in-law was looking at.

From that time on, I was convinced that ESP existed, but I rarely saw instances where it was likely at work. We humans are so feebly endowed with ESP that I did graduate work in Ethology (comparative animal behavior) without once running across a paper about ESP in animals.

Carol and I lived for a short time, out in the sagebrush on the Paiute reservation in Schurz, Nevada. Every day we would turn out our two ravens with clipped wings into the chain-link fenced yard. Once in a while, a Harris’s hawk would alight on the fence and eye the ravens without making a sound. Our ravens would hide at once in their carrier until one of us came out to get them. If we watched from the living room window, the hawk would be joined before long by several others. I soon discovered that they were flying in from all sorts of different directions at once to land on the fence and help stare at the ravens’ box. But what was astonishing was that they arrived from places totally out of sight of one another.

I have carefully watched them assemble in this manner better than twenty times. Without calls of any sort, how could they ever coordinate such a thing? The simplest explanation would be that they scatter widely to scour the countryside and use ESP to converge upon game. I have no proof whatsoever of their using ESP, but it certainly requires a vastly more complicated explanation to describe how they might manage this without ESP.

I also have watched several detailed films which documented prides of lions hunting wildebeest. I grew up driving cattle out in the open, and the striking thing to me about the lions on film is how very much their maneuvers resemble what drovers do, handling cattle. Most of a drover’s work is indeed independent of other drovers, but there is inescapably calling back and forth to make certain that a given cow is turned before she gets away. Lions don’t call back and forth during their hunt. If they ever had so much as our feeble ESP ability in the distant past, I would think that Nature might just select to enhance it for the sake of their survival, wouldn’t you?