Swahili Tales/The Kites and the Crows

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The king of the crows arose and sent a letter to the king of the kites, and said to him, "I want you to be my soldier." And he said, "I do not consent." And he said, "If you do not consent, you and I will fight." And he said, "Let us fight; if you beat me, I will obey you; if I beat you, you will obey me."

And they fought, and the crows were beaten. And an old one arose and said, "Let us flee." And they fled from their town, and went to another town. And when the kites came and saw no one, they lived in the town of the crows.

Till one day the crows took counsel. And an old one arose, and said, "Pluck off my feathers, and throw me into the town of the kites." And they plucked him, and threw him in.

And when the kites passed and saw him, they said to him, "What are you doing here in our town?" And he said, "My companions have beaten me, and turned me out of the town, because I told them to obey the kite."

And they took him and went with him to their king, and said to him, "We have picked up this crow; ask him, he will tell his business."

And the king asked him, and he said, "My companions have beaten me, and turned me out of the town, because I told them truly, 'Obey the kite, he is our king;' and they beat me." And the king of the kites said, "Stay here."

And he stayed many days. Till one day they went to church, and they took him, and they prayed together; and when they went out, they asked him, "We and you, which worships God best?" And he said, "You do."

And he stayed, and they loved him much. Till when their feast day drew near, he went out in the night, and went and told his companions, "To-morrow they will all go to church, come outside the door of the church and put fire to it." And they went out, and went to look for firewood, and others went and fetched fire.

So in the morning they went to church, without there remaining a single person in the town, except that old crow. And they said to him, "Why are you not going to church to-day?" And he said, "My stomach aches badly." And they said to him, "Very well." And he went and called his companions. And he said to them, "They have all gone into the church."

And they went and put firewood at the door of the church, and others set it on fire. And the fire blazed up. And they saw the smoke come into the church, and they fled to the windows, and others died, very many, and the king and all died. And the crows took the town.

And the kites who remained have fled from the crows to this day.