In oral traditions worldwide many tales feature tricksters as heroes who, depending upon the society, may be regarded as both creator god and innocent fool. One such animal portrayed in poetry and tales is the raven who calls above my backyard from its nest in the hundred foot tall cottonwood tree of my neighbor. The noises that bird utters cannot be called songs by any stretch of the word except the noises consist of varied notes.
There is a click, click, upon occasion as if the bird is trying to get my attention. You know the tap tap tapping upon Edgar Allen Poe’s door. A rusty caw, caw at other times is more like a warning to an invading squirrel. The young begging for food in the nest sound very much like whiny human babies. All are sounds filled with emotion for a purpose. It is no wonder that ravens are credited with communication to humans by those who used to pay them appropriate attention. In the dim past people insisted that animals talked, understood them, and assisted them in times of trial or teased and tricked them when it struck their fancy.
Various cultures consider other animals as tricksters in their folklore — fox, coyote, spider. Sometimes the animal becomes a mythological figure, to rival the sky god, or steal the sun or light the moon, or play a trick in one way or another. But their purpose is the same which is to make a point. A moral or a warning is likely to make a stronger impression when put in the context of evil destroyer or childlike prankster. We put our words in the mouths of those speechless animals. On the face of it tales are simply fun to hear.
Most of the time.
So sad that Edgar lost Lenore. However he did immortalize the raven. Forevermore.