Fine weather for the worms, Mr. Raven!

October 22, 2016

a-raven-2

I had opened the window, and stood there looking out at the precipitous rain, when I descried a raven walking toward me over the grass, with solemn gait, and utter disregard of the falling
deluge. Suspecting who he was, I congratulated myself that I was safe on the ground-floor. At the same time I had a conviction that, if I were not careful, something would happen.

He came nearer and nearer, made a profound bow, and with a sudden winged leap stood on the window-sill. Then he stepped over the ledge, jumped down into the room, and walked to the door. I thought he was on his way to the library, and followed him, determined, if he went up the stair, not to take one step after him. He turned, however, neither toward the library nor the stair, but to a little door that gave upon a grass-patch in a nook between two portions of the rambling old house. I made haste to open it for him. He stepped out into its creeper-covered porch, and stood looking at the rain, which fell like a huge thin cataract; I stood in the door behind him. The second flash came, and was followed by a lengthened roll of more distant thunder. He turned his head over his shoulder and looked at me, as much as to say, “You hear that?” then swivelled it round again, and anew contemplated the weather, apparently with approbation. So human were his pose and carriage and the way he kept turning his head, that I remarked almost involuntarily,

“Fine weather for the worms, Mr. Raven!”

“Yes,” he answered, in the rather croaky voice I had learned to know, “the ground will be nice for them to get out and in! – It must be a grand time on the steppes of Uranus!” he added, with a glance upward; “I believe it is raining there too; it was, all the last week!”

“Why should that make it a grand time?” I asked.

“Because the animals there are all burrowers,” he answered, ” – like the field-mice and the moles here. – They will be, for ages to come.”

“How do you know that, if I may be so bold?” I rejoined.

“As any one would who had been there to see,” he replied. “It is a great sight, until you get used to it, when the earth gives a heave, and out comes a beast. You might think it a hairy elephant or a deinotherium – but none of the animals are the same as we have ever had here. I was almost frightened myself the first time I saw the dry-bog-serpent come wallowing out -such a head and mane! and SUCH eyes! – but the shower is nearly over. It will stop directly after the next thunder-clap. There it is!”

A flash came with the words, and in about half a minute the thunder. Then the rain ceased.

“Now we should be going!” said the raven, and stepped to the front of the porch.

“Going where?” I asked.

“Going where we have to go,” he answered. “You did not surely think you had got home? I told you there was no going out and in at pleasure until you were at home!”

“I do not want to go,” I said.

“That does not make any difference – at least not much,” he answered.
“This is the way!”

“I am quite content where I am.”

“You think so, but you are not. Come along.”

George MacDonald
Lilith

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