Charlie and the Crow: Kids’ Story by Alan Brasington

My name is Charles A. Farley, Arlington, Charles Arlington Farley. My friends call me Charlie; Charlie Farley, it rhymes. I live in the north of New York, the State, on the Canadian border; and my best friend is a talking crow. He lives in a barn next door and says, “Hello.” Yes, he can say “Hello,” an’ does whenever I go to see him. “Hello, hello.”

My friend has a little string attached around his leg, and his wings are clipped so he can’t fly away. He can imitate an airplane too – “brrrrup, brrrr.” And he calls “Arnold” and “Leila” because they own him and are always calling each other. “Arnold!” “Leila!” But that crow never calls me.

I look in that little crow’s eyes an’ wonder who it is that’s trapped inside him. When he says “Hello,” I think someone from another time must be inside wanting to get out. “Hello.”

I say “Hello” back when he says it. An’ I tell him my name is Charlie; “Charlie Farley,” I say. “It rhymes.” But still, he doesn’t say my name.

Then I think, “Wait, I don’t know his name neither.” Maybe it’s Buster. Buster-the-Crow is a good name for a bird. You wouldn’t call a crow Spot or Poochie; those are dogs’ names. An’ Frisky is what you’d call a horse. Fluffy would be a cat. An’ teeny would be yer mouse, ha ha.

Buster’s feathers are deep deep black that change colors as ya look at him – like motor oil on top of water – ya see purple, an green and there’s gold inside ’em when the sun shines down. His feathers are all shiny too. I wonder does a bird know that about his feathers. Can he see himself from the outside? Crows like shiny things. If ya went to their nests you’d prob’ly find old silver gum wrappers, maybe a gold thumb tack, an’ a lady’s emerald ring.

I wonder does Buster look at me an’ think, “That creature out there who’s askin’ me stuff – his covering is white like milk; an’ he’s got brown spots on his feathers that don’t shine in the day light.” I don’t find his feathers interesting; they’re not shiny like mine.

Buster doesn’t have a nest. He walks back-an’-forth across the barn rafter on which he’s tied. I never seen him sitting down like he would in a nest; but he must get tired sometime. But whenever I open the door, there he is waiting – “Hello,” he says when I walk in. An’ sometimes he does the airplane – ‘brrrrr.’ When he calls “Leila” or “Arnold” I know it’s because he wants them to untie his string an’ set him free. I sometimes wonder if I should . . . if I should . . . set him free. But he wouldn’t be able to fly away anyways. He can’t fly. He’d be walkin’ in the world below an’ what would happen if a cat or a owl came along. It wouldn’t be safe . . .  so I don’t.

An’ what would Buster eat if there was nobody to give him nothin’ the way Leila an’ Arnold do? I think maybe he might like it better bein’ free . . . to be dead, instantly, like a moth that is able to set itself on fire an’ burn itself up. Buster could acshully be alive for a minute doin’ something for hisself an’ not tied to a barn where all he can do is say “Hello” to people who don’t realize there’s someone inside . . . .  “Hello!”


Alan Brasington About Alan Brasington

Alan Brasington, the Voice of Steinbeck Now, is an actor, director, and writer living in New York City who was born in upstate New York and trained at SUNY New Paltz and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England. He reads aloud from his own fiction, typically written from a child's point of view, as well from new work by other writers published at


  1. Steve Hauk says:


    A charming and moving story that says things of value. You need to find an illustrator. and then a publisher.

  2. Anita Ross says:

    Such a beautifully written and touching story. Charlie Farley is a wonderful character.

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