Crow had a nest in which she laid two eggs. For a day or so she
sat on the eggs to hatch them, but then she grew tired of this
and went off to hunt food for herself. Day after day passed but
Crow did not return, and every morning Hawk flew by and saw the
eggs with no one there to keep them warm.
One morning Hawk said to herself, "Crow who owns this nest no
longer cares for it. Those eggs should not be lying unwarmed. I
will sit on them and when they hatch they will be my children."
For many days Hawk sat on the eggs and Crow never came to the
nest. Finally the eggs began to hatch. Still no Crow came. Both
little ones hatched out and mother Hawk flew about getting food
for them. They grew larger and larger until their wings became
strong. Then mother Hawk took them off the nest and showed them
how to fly.
About this time, Crow remembered her nest and she came back to
it. She found the eggs hatched and Hawk taking care of her little
ones. Hawk was on the ground, feeding with the young crows.
"Hawk, what do you think you are doing?" cried Crow.
"I am doing nothing wrong," Hawk said.
"You must return these young crows you are leading around."
"Because they are mine," Crow replied.
"To be sure, you laid the eggs," Hawk said, "but you went off and
left them. There was no one to sit upon them and keep them warm.
I came and sat upon the nest and hatched them. When they were
hatched I fed them and now I am showing them how to find their
own food. They are mine and I shall not return them to you."
"I shall take them back," Crow threatened.
"I shall not give them up. I have worked for them. Many days I
went without food sitting there upon the eggs. In all that time
you did not come near your nest. Why is it that now I have done
all the work to hatch and raise them you want them back?
Crow looked down at the young ones. "My children," she said, come
with me. I am your mother."
But the young ones answered: "We do not know you. Hawk is our
At last, after she saw that she could not make the little crows
come with her, Crow said: "Very well, I shall take this matter to
Eagle, the King of the Birds, and let him decide. We shall see
who has the right to these young crows."
"Good," said Hawk. "I am willing to go and tell the King of the
Birds about this."
And so Crow and Hawk and the two young birds went to see Eagle.
Crow spoke first. "When I returned to my nest," she said, "I
found my eggs hatched and Hawk taking charge of my young ones. I
have come to you, the King of the Birds, to ask that Hawk be
required to return the Children to me."
"Why did you leave your nest?" Eagle asked Crow.
To this question, Crow gave no reply. She simply bowed her head
"Very well, Hawk," Eagle said, "how did you find this nest of
"Many times I flew over the nest and found it empty," Hawk
replied. "No one came for a long time, and so I said to myself,
'The mother who made this nest can no longer care for these eggs
I shall be glad to hatch these little ones.' So I sat on the nest
and warmed the eggs until they hatched. Then I went about getting
food for the young ones. I worked hard and taught them to fly and
to find food for themselves."
"But they are my children," Crow interrupted. "I laid the eggs."
Eagle glared at Crow. "Wait for your turn to speak," he said
sternly, and then turned back to Hawk. "Is that all you have to
"Yes, I have worked hard to raise my two young ones. Just when
they are able to care for themselves, Crow comes back and asks to
have them given to her. It is I who went without food for days so
as to stay on the nest and keep the eggs warm. The birds are now
my little ones. I do not wish to give them up."
Eagle thought a few moments, muttering aloud to himself: "It
seems that mother Hawk is not willing to return the young ones to
mother Crow. If mother Crow had truly wanted these young ones,
why did she leave the nest for so many days, and now is demanding
that they be given to her? In truth, Hawk is the mother of the
young ones because she went without food while she warmed and
hatched them and then flew about searching out their food. So now
they are her children."
When she heard this. Crow approached closer to Eagle. "Oh, King
of the Birds," she said, "why do you not ask the young ones which
mother they will choose to follow? They are old enough to know
that they are crows and not hawks."
Eagle nodded his head and turned to the young ones. "Which mother
will you choose?" he asked.
Both young Crows answered together: "Hawk is our mother. She is
the only mother we know."
"No!" cried Crow. "I am your only mother!"
The young crows then said to her: "You abandoned us in the nest.
Hawk hatched us and took care of us and she is our mother."
"It is settled," Eagle declared. "The young ones have chosen Hawk
to be their mother. So it shall be."
At this, Crow began to weep.
"It is useless to weep," said Eagle. "You abandoned your nest and
it is your own fault that you have lost your children. It is the
decision of the King of the Birds that they shall go with mother
And so the young crows stayed with Hawk, and Crow lost her
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