Early this morning it struck me that the almost empty roads had been taken over by crows. Audaciously they were hopping and strutting on and by the side of the road, looking for food. Ever since I’ve seen Hitchcock’s movie ‘The Birds’, I find crows to be very creepy creatures. But apparently not everybody shares this feeling.
Some years ago when we were staying at our favourite hotel in Tours, the landlady told us a very strange story about some of her patrons. They had arrived with quite a large number of suitcases and trunks. Before coming down to dinner on the first evening of their stay the woman had called the reception to ask whether it was possible to have a babysitter for the evening. This had slightly surprised the girl at the reception desk, as she was not aware of the couple having a young child staying with them. She hadn’t asked any questions though, and had called the hotel’s babysitter.
Shortly after the babysitter had gone up to the room the couple came down. Several times during dinner either the man or the woman went upstairs to check whether everything was alright. The next morning the babysitter told the following unbelievable yet true story.
Apparently two of the large suitcases had contained the couple’s collection of cuddly toys all representing … crows. They had spent the best part of their first afternoon at the hotel unpacking the crows and placing them all over the rooms of their hotel suite. There were well over a hundred of them and they all had been packed in individual vacuum-sealed plastic bags.
The woman had instructed the babysitter to entertain the crows by singing to them and caressing them, making sure not to forget the ones in the bathroom so that they wouldn’t get jealous of the ones in the bedroom and the sitting room. At first nobody would believe the poor babysitter. The presence of the crows was however confirmed later that morning by the maid, who almost had a fit when she walked into the room to do the beds and the daily cleaning. Next the other members of the hotel staff had gone up one by one to have a look at the strange set-up.
In the evening the couple once again requested the services of the babysitter. Although the girl was available the landlady lied and said that she was looking after some other guests’ baby. As a result the couple took turns to come down and have their dinner. To everybody’s surprise they didn’t ask for the babysitter on the third evening and they had their meal together in the dining room. Had they come to there senses? No, they had … bought a baby phone, which lay on the table throughout the whole meal. On the other end of the baby phone you could hear the sound of a tape recorder playing lullabies. When the tape stopped, either the man or the woman went up to check on the crows and to insert a new tape into the machine.
Needless to say that the whole hotel staff felt relieved when the next morning the couple packed up their weird flock of crows and moved on to their next destination.
P.S. It's not so much the fact that the couple collected crows that surprises me - after all I collect beavers! It's more the fact that they took so many with them on their holiday and even paid a babysitter to look after them!