Once upon a time,
a little girl wanted to fly. She would sit at her window and watch birds beating their wings against the great blue. She noticed how funny it was that they looked so agitated, twittering about on her roof, but completely at ease and graceful as they flew, beaks pointed ahead. She studied their colors, wingspan, their songs... but most of all, she loved them. Because she loved flight.
One day, she met a witch. The witch told her she would make the little girl into a bird if in return she would be her slave. The little girl eagerly agreed, but she did not realize that the witch was not going to make her into a sweet white dove, or a happy blue jay. Instead the little girl became a nasty black crow.
Though disappointed, the little girl was forced by her own deal with the witch to be obedient and uncomplaining. She served the witch as her faithful messenger, flying sadly into the dark night sky, though she dreamed of the bright blue of day.
The witch held a grudge against a certain prince who had spurned her attention. She called the little crow to her side and instructed her to watch the prince and learn his routine, so that the witch may be able to set a trap for him and rid herself of the object of her ruined love.
The girl crow did watch the prince. He was handsome, and kind, and intelligent, and she herself could not help but be drawn to him. She saw him day after day as he went out with his falcon to let her fly. The crow admired his love of the animal and soon fell in love with him herself.
The little crow was not particularly discreet. The prince, who had sharp eyes and keen senses, found her hiding in the trees. Instead of being irritated or alarmed, the prince laughed and called for her. The crow alighted on his arm, and he spoke tenderly to her, asking where she was from. He did not expect her to answer him, but the little crow could not help herself, and she replied. She told him her story, of her love of birds, of the witch who had tricked her, and finally why she had been watching him. The prince listened and believed her.
The crow gave him directions to the witch's house, where the prince cornered the old crone and ran her through with his sword. Good had bravely vanquished her vengeful evil. However, though the witch was dead, the spell on the little girl did not disappear. She still remained a sad, ugly little crow.
Moved to pity and love, he said, "You and I both will be birds."
He kneeled and prayed, and the prince became a majestic black bird, slender and shining. She admired his beauty, and he leaned in and touched his beak to hers. She became like him. They were one and the same, they were ravens, and they trailed the skies the rest of their days.