Mange glade afkast af dagen!

(that's "many happy returns of the day" in Danish)

It's a well-known fact that ravens are some of the smartest birds on the planet; possibly the smartest. Ace Ventura knows it and so does the guy behind the experiment in this video. With the biggest brains (comparatively) of all birds, it's no surprise that these little guys can be trained to do almost anything. Is it possible, though, that they have a darker side?

Meet the Valravn

In Danish folklore, a valravn (meaning "raven of the slain") is a supernatural raven associated with battlefield death. The ravens appear in traditional Danish folksongs, where they are described as originating from ravens who consume the bodies of the dead on the battlefield, and who are capable of turning into the form of a knight after eating the entire heart of a child, and, alternately, as half-wolf and half-raven creatures.

According to Danish folklore recorded in the late 1800s, when a king or chieftain was killed in battle and not found and buried, ravens came and ate him. The ravens became valravn. The valravn that ate the king's heart gained human knowledge and could perform great malicious acts, could lead people astray, had superhuman powers, and were "terrible animals".

In another account, a valravn is described as a peaceless soul in search of redemption that flies by night (but never day) and can only free itself from its animal countenance by consuming the blood of a child. This is reflected in a Danish traditional song that describes how, after refusing offers of riches, the Valravn makes an agreement with a maiden to take her to her betrothed after she promises the valravn her first-born son. After the agreement, the valravn flies away. In time, the couple have a child and the Valravn returns, and asks the maiden if she has forgotten her promise. The valravn takes the child away, and tears into the chest of his won wager and consumes the blood contained within the child's heart. As a result, the valravn transforms into a knight.


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