LONDON – With Covid-19 rocking the UK, Brexit is wreaking havoc and supporting Scotland’s growing independence, Britons hardly need folklore prophecies to tell them their country is in a difficult situation.
But 2021 he gave them anyway.
Legend has it that at least six crows must be kept in the Tower of London, otherwise the kingdom will fall. On Wednesday, it announced that one of these birds, Merlina, had disappeared and could be dead.
This means that the dislike of the crows in the tower – appropriately the Gothic collective noun of the birds – is up to seven, so dangerously close to the minimum.
“My concern is obviously the kingdom,”
The story of the crows is usually attributed to King Charles II, who ruled in the mid-1600s. Legend has it that he insisted that the birds be kept in the tower after he was told he would fall if they ever left.
Dating back to 1070, the Tower of London has acted as a fortress, prison and palace at various points throughout history. At least one king and perhaps two young princes were killed within its walls.
Today it is home to the Crown Jewels – a collection of clothing, crowns and other royal regalia valued at billions of pounds – and of course the legendary crows. It is one of the best tourist attractions in the world, with more than 3 million visitors each year in non-coronavirus times.
Skaife, who has raven tattoos on his calves and lives in the walls of the tower, said in previous interviews that the myth of the raven was actually invented by the tower itself in the 1880s as a marketing ploy.
As one of the palace keepers, known as the yoma keepers, his job is to take care of the birds by feeding them meat from the local market and biscuits dipped in blood.
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Skaife was putting the crows to bed just before the UK entered its last national lock earlier this month and noticed that Merlina had not returned.
She has been missing for two weeks now and her “prolonged absence shows us that she has unfortunately died,” a statement from the Tower of London said. She was the “undisputed ruler of the night,” they said, calling her the “Queen of the Raven Towers.”
Six of the seven remaining crows are listed on the tower’s website: Jubilee, Harris, Gripp, Rocky, Erin and Poppy.
“We hope that a new chick from our breeding program will face the huge challenge of continuing her legacy,” the statement said.