The Hawk at the Harbour

Posted: April 5, 2014 in Fantasy
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The hawk sat on his favourite branch way up in the tree. It was his responsibility to supervise and protect Oakville, Ontario. Nearly twenty centuries ago, the higher instance had assigned him the task to guard the territory Oakville was in. For a long time, the region had been devoid of human beings. The hawk’s task was easier, then. He and the other local species communicated telepathically. The other guardians – globally spread – and he also communicated via telepathy. Typical guardians besides the hawk could be wolves, mountain lions, dolphins, ravens, occasionally even kangaroos or meerkats.

For several centuries, humans had passed through the hawk’s region, on their way to different destinations. Telepathic meetings with the other guardians and the higher instance were once a year at the most. As the human population grew on planet Earth, the guardians were summoned by the higher instance twice a year. The guardians often reported about pandemic diseases. The higher instance suggested enhancing the cooperation with the respective supporting species. Worse pandemics could be avoided – thanks to the guardians and their loyal supporters.

Yes, the hawk had seen a lot. When the first settlers came, his routine changed. The other guardians also enlarged their crowd of supporters to keep the world balanced as far as possible. With knowing eyes, the hawk looked around, then he set off on one of his rounds. Higher and higher he went, then let himself glide in circles. His watchful eyes didn’t miss a beat. Everything was right as it should be – until he glided inland. Wood splintered and he heard a barely audible wail. Another round made it clear: A little boy had fallen in a ditch. Apparently he had jumped on the wooden cover which had then given in.

The hawk summoned the ravens for a little hubbub. In less than two minutes, the farmer arrived and freed his grandson from the ditch. Luckily, the boy had only a sprained ankle and some bruises. The ravens dutifully reported this to the hawk who then returned to his favourite tree by the harbour. The hawk was satisfied that the little boy had not been seriously injured.

Sometimes the hawk was a little sad that he could not help the people within his responsibility range himself. First, he wasn’t allowed to interfere – the higher instance would not have it. Second, he was only visible to people with a truly clear conscience; this diminished the danger of being killed.

The hawk’s routine was always the same; yet it was never boring. There was always something new. One day, as he was sitting on his favourite tree branch, a young raven landed several branches below him, bowing his head reverently. ‘My flock requested me to introduce myself to you, honourable guardian.’

The hawk eyed him openly and nodded. ‘Welcome, young raven.’

They communicated for a while, the hawk instructing the young raven of how to fulfil different tasks to keep the world in a balance. Two hours later, they parted as friends. Again, the hawk took off to make his rounds below the evening sky. Everything was as it should be: no trouble among the human beings, the animals were well cared for – what else could one ask for?

Days passed and became weeks. Another meeting with the other guardians and the higher instance were due. The hawk summoned the young raven. The latter was flummoxed. ‘Me?! You really want me to take over the guardian duty while you take part in the meeting?’

‘You can certainly do it, dear young friend.’

The hawk beckoned the young raven to sit by his side – for a better overview – and closed his eyes. The meeting began.

The young raven was still awestruck. He was all eyes and ears, taking in everything that happened with the region he was responsible to guard. When it was time to set off on the guardians round he carefully peeked at the hawk you still seemed entranced in the meeting. Apparently it was really his task this evening to make sure that everybody was safe. He set off, enjoying the evening breeze. He dutifully took in every movement. There were no disturbances. Feeling relieved, he returned to the tree by the harbour and settled next to the hawk.

Some minutes later, the hawk opened his eyes. The young raven was terrified and about to retreat to a lower branch. ‘Don’t,’ the hawk told him.

‘I have received some important news. As there are more and more human beings, our territories need to become smaller. We need more guardians to protect life on earth and – I recommended you.’

‘Me? How? I do not know so much, yet!’ The young raven panicked.

‘You’ll learn, my friend. You’ll learn. The higher instance will adapt and/or distribute the new territories within a week. If you are among the chosen ones, your life will change. You will receive a territory of your own. It might be right in the neighbourhood or far away. If you are among the chosen ones, only human beings with a clear conscience will see you. Your telepathic abilities will improve, and you will get your directions directly from the higher instance.’

‘I am only a raven! And I am so young and inexperienced!’

‘You are a grown raven, my friend. And we were all inexperienced when we took over the task as a guardian. Fly home to your flock, now. Relax and enjoy the company of the other ravens.’

The young raven set off to return to his flock, hardly believing what he had just heard. His flock was impressed. ‘What an honour!’ one of the elder ravens cawed.

Life in Oakville, Ontario, continued. One morning, the young raven was telepathically addressed by the higher instance. ‘Are you ready, young raven?’

The young raven was given the coordinates of his own territory. It was in a neighbouring region. He bade his flock farewell, and as he set off to thank the hawk, he felt a tingling sensation. He knew that he was a real guardian, then. He was no longer visible to human beings without a clear conscience.

The hawk and he stayed friends, regularly communicating from territory to territory.

The hawk was gladly continuing his task of protecting Oakville, Ontario, supervising every movement with great interest. During his rounds, he occasionally sneaked a peek into the neighbouring territory, candidly greeting his friend, the young raven.

One evening he set off on his usual rounds, enjoying the evening breeze while dutifully looking out for disturbances, and he did luckily not object to be photographed by Erin.


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Erin Waldie’s beautiful photographs inspired me to write this short story. Thank you so much, Erin!  :-)

Please visit her awesome blog and find amazing content.  :-)

Last, not least I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Walter Bachler. He told me how a flock of ravens saved a farm duck from being taken by an eagle in the Austrian Alps. Only two of these ravens were constant guests on the farm. The rest of them was obviously called for support. Dear readers, now you know why a raven plays such an important role in this story.

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  1. […] third project is also based on one of my short stories: The Hawk at the Harbour – one of my readers suggested this – and I wholeheartedly agree. Thank […]

  2. stephswint says:

    This could be the start to a wonderful novel…I would love to read it

    • Karen says:

      This story has the potential to be the prequel to a novel, indeed. I’ll definitely keep this in mind.
      Thank you for reading the story and commenting.

  3. W says:




  4. Topaz says:

    Your stories are always so creative, Karen, and I love the beautiful picture as well. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you very much, Topaz. Your appreciation means a lot! 🙂
      Erin’s pictures inspired me. And when Walter told me about the ravens – I just had to introduce a raven as well.

  5. nerdycanuck says:

    Reblogged this on Erin Waldie and commented:
    The Hawk At The Harbour, A wonderful Short Story on a great blog. Go and check it out:)

  6. nerdycanuck says:

    Loved the story, very interesting and creative.. Great job:)

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