Friday, 16 April 2010

A Timely Death

Death occurred at 10 o'clock. As the departed soul of Mr. Magander, lifted by angel wings, began its journey, his friends could only stand around and keep vigil.  He died with his best suit one, suddenly and without a fuss as befit his stature in life.

His friends, memories over-flowing in their minds, regarded each other - a state of bewilderment having already set in.  It would be hard to imagine life without this pillar of their society, but what made him really special was the timepiece.

The day he brought it home for them all to admire, was the day he won their respect.  To be in possession of something so precious and to go to such lengths to purloin it, was a cause for celebration.  Even on a full moon they could, if they wanted to, still see it: its gold colour a burnished glimmer in the moonlight. It was a treasure beyond price and forever his... From that day forward, they would look to him to lead them and he would have his choice of the females.  It was only right.

"We must tell the gypsy," said the second in command.  'She'll know what to do."

"Where is she?" said another.  "Has anyone seen her?"

They looked from one to another.  Anxiety hung in the air as the clouds turned black in front of the sun.

"She washes her hair, down by the brook," said another of their number.

The gypsy saw them coming, upside down in her vision as her hair hung free and reached the water.

"What is it?' she asked as they flocked around her.

"We have a funeral to attend," they told her, their voices loud and in unison.

"Oh, I see.  Must I attend?"

"You must come. Please say you will; and scatter flowers round.  It's all we ask."

"I shall attend."

Mr. Magander's friends collected suitable matter for the funeral circle and the gypsy attended as she had promised.

Each friend laid a special wreath near the still body - a blade of grass, so gently laid and another and another.

The gypsy placed the time piece at his head and the chain reached to his feet: a circle of gold.

For a few precious moments, the friends stood still and said 'farewell", each in his own way and then departed. A flurry of darkened wings as they took flight...

When they had all gone, the sky seemed black, covered as it was by a cloak of magpie wings.

The gypsy, looking this way and that, stooped down and picked up the timepiece, putting it gently in her pocket.


NB Magpies are said to hold funerals for fallen friends and even bring along wreaths.

For other Magpie Tales, click here to access Willow's  website.


  1. I did not get until I read "a flurry of black wings...."

    Isn't miraculous, even in nature, they remeber those who are taken from them.

    Lisa :)

  2. I like this piece of writing and the prompt lent itself in a most interesting way to your interpretation -- well written...
    Image & Verse

  3. inspirational!
    Happy sunday!

  4. A very fanciful magpie(s)tale! Love the allegorical folklore. The iconic images of the magpies in the
    "covered as it was by a cloak of magpie wings." is very visually rich. The timepiece good barter for the young chick's interest. This tale is quite literally for the birds (magpie birds that is!). The gypsy a wonderful element; her crystal ball being described "upside down in her vision" without having to reference a cliche crystal ball. Imaginative! Wow! Thoroughly enjoyed this tales. Thank-you!Magpies love all that glitters which is always gold. And I love the golden ring around their eyes. Are they harbingers of death? Like the raven? Quote the Magpie "Nevermore". Loved it!

  5. I was completely taken in, very clever and imaginative.

  6. Star, that's very good writing!

  7. so nicely done...
    i like that the gypsy went back...
    holds true to a character that lives in my mind.
    great magpie!

  8. Love that dark, magpie winged sky!

  9. she took the pocket watch? Oh dear...
    what a lovely tale , you are BRILLIANT!
    mine is here
    this is my first magpie tale.
    have you a great week.

  10. Thank you very much for your kind comments people :)

  11. Sort of a twist-in-the-tail story, but a good one, I liked the mischievous gypsy.

  12. Yes, I liked this one. A bit of a twist in the tail too.

  13. This story was fascinating. Well done.

  14. Well done Star! When the sky turned the colour of magpie wings, I knew something would happen!

  15. what an innteresting twist on time and magpies; I really fell into reading this, thinking it was a person. Great suspense that I did not know it was magpie until the end....ahhh he doggone gypsy taking the watch! This was very good.

  16. This was 'rich' in the best possible way!

  17. dark sky--wings and a gypsy 00talk about atmosphere! great magpie!


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