Once upon a time, there was a big, clear lake. From far away, it looked like a huge mirror that reflected everything around. The puffy clouds in the blue sky, the mountains in the distance and the surrounding green forests. And there, on the surface of the lake, were beautiful, majestic swans.
There wasn’t a more elegant, more graceful creature anywhere. They spent their whole day on the water, swimming back and forth. Their dense white feathers never got wet and protected them from the cold, and they loved paddling across the lake without a care.
Near the lake, there were tall, grey poplar trees with black crows nesting in them. They would go hunting for food by the lakeside and their cawing could be heard far and wide.
However, one of the crows didn’t come to the lake just for food. She also liked watching the swans. She admired their grace and beauty, how delicately they swam, how quietly they ate. She watched and watched, until one day she just decided she wanted to become one of them.
Even though she had a comfortable life in a solid, dry twiggy nest with the other crows, she didn’t like the way she looked. She thought that only when she started living like the swans, would she be happy with herself.
And so with that idea, she left her cozy nest in the tree and started doing the same things the swans did. She got into the cold, icy water and tried to learn to swim as they did.
She tried to hold herself up the same way as them, to look like a swan from far away. She tried stretching her short, stubby neck into an ‘Ess’ shape.
Each and every day, she rubbed her midnight black feathers…