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N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Raven

A bird renowned to be of ill omen (perhaps due to its colour) the raven is said to have the worst nature of all birds according to legend, even associated with the Devil. Again perhaps this is because the bird is supposed to have the ability to see the future, hence the expression ‘the foresight of a raven’. The American Indians call the raven 'the messenger of death' as it has a very strong sense of smell being able to detect death from a distance. Probably the most famous ravens are at ‘The Tower of London’ (UK); tradition has it that should the ravens leave the tower the Monarchy will fall and Britain will fall to her enemy. Some also believe that if they leave the British Royal Family will die. One croaking or flying over a house is said to be a death and sickness omen. If the bird flies around the chimney then someone lying ill inside will not recover from the illness. In Scotland (UK) to hear one croaking before going on a hunt indicates that good fortune will come to the hunt. If seen preening itself then rain is thought by some to be on the way, whilst to see a raven flying towards the sun indicates that hot weather is imminent. Should the eggs be stolen then a rural English (UK) belief once held that a baby would soon die. In Yorkshire (UK) children were warned that is they misbehaved the ‘Great Black Bird’ would carry them off unless their behaviour improved. The raven is also according to legend associated with King Arthur, particularly in the West Country (UK) and Wales (UK). It is believed that on his death King Arthur turned into a raven. Edgar Allen Poe's poem 'The Raven' is said by some to reveal the true nature of the bird.