Long ago, in some unfortunate place, a maiden was born.
They said that she came from the crows. No one was too sure, however; that’s just what the priests told them. She was left upon the steps of the chapel, an infant, defenseless, with wispy strands of raven hair upon her head.
In her hands there were, so said the priests, crow feathers, dark and dreadful. It was obvious what was to be done: she was to be burned alive, absolved of her sins.
That was a simple solution. The child cried for her mother all night the night before she was to be ignited into cinders, to rid the world of her evils and return her to the carnal earth.
That night, the villagers would all remember that they heard crows, loud and cackling, singing dirges to their princess, to their abysmal lady, caught in the hands of those who thought her a devil.
But the next morning, when the priests came to retrieve her, she was gone. Left in the crib were, they said, crow feathers, black and dismal.
That afternoon, the bishop, distressed by this news, addressed the town.
“Those who saved the girl are enemies of heaven itself!” He proclaimed with violent zeal.
The people, fearful that their neighbors might accuse them of witchcraft, hurriedly and frantically looked for the child. Some accused their enemies; others used the opportunity to profit over their neighbors. Both of victims of such, were burned.
Their charred corpses lay there for two days.
But the forlorn child was nowhere to be found.
The villagers would remember, years later, that not a single crow was seen or heard that day.
Time went on, and soon the priests employed inquisitors and exorcists from the church to come and rectify and bless the village, purge it from its transgressions.
Houses were searched; barns were inspected then burned, just in case the girl was hiding there (for everyone knows that devils are tricksters, and they are very good at hiding).
But the raven child was nowhere to be found.
The villagers would later remember that there were more crows than usual that day.
And so then the priests turned to the women, for they reasoned that only the blood of the deceptive Eve would be tempted to save the child—even if the child was a devil.
That, to them, was a simple answer.
The clergy reasoned that the women must have all been witches, that they conspired to save the child the night before, to steal her away in the darkness. The inquisitors barged into houses, brandishing short blades, and dragged the women from their husbands, the mothers from their children.
The smell of burning flesh lingered for two days.
Later, the villagers would recall that the crows watched the women burn.
Days passed; and years transpired. All of the priests grew old, and the bishop died; the men raised motherless children.
But no one ever found the child that disappeared that night; no one ever found the Princess of Crows.
Decades later, the villagers would all forget why the crows continue to laugh at them.