“One for sorrow, two for joy,
three for a girl and four for a boy,
five for silver, six for gold,
seven for a secret never to be told.”

(Some old, british children’s rhyme about magpies that has been stuck in my mind for years.)

I saw a lot of Henry for inktober and jumped on the train- but instead of the usual crows and ravens, I decided to give some attention to a bird that gets lot less appreciation than its older brothers of the ravens- the magpie!

So, well, Henry is trying to teach his little friend how to sing, but even though crows, ravens and magpies belong to the group of singing birds, which contains robins, blue tits and blackbirds too, they are not really the most talented singers.

Faerie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold; The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords.
—  J.R.R. Tolkien
There was sadness in everything—in the room, in the ringing bird-calls from the garden, in the lit, golden lawn beyond the window, with its single miraculous cherry-tree breaking in immaculate blossom and tossing long foamy sprays against the sky. She was sad to the verge of tears, and yet the sorrow was rich—a suffocating joy.
—  Rosamond Lehmann, Dusty Answer


“I saw two magpies/A girl and a boy/One for sorrow/Two for joy/With no salutes/I move away/And long to face, face ,face/Face down fear”

I was just playing around while listening to Electric Arguments (a 2008 record by The Fireman - Paul Mccartney and Youth), but magpies are such gorgeous birds and a delight to draw that I think I’ll draw a lot more of them.

Btw, support this person here for awesome stuff!


One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl … Three for a girl. I’m stuck on three, I just can’t get any further. My head is thick with sounds, my mouth thick with blood. Three for a girl. I can hear the magpies—they’re laughing, mocking me, a raucous cackling. A tiding. Bad tidings. I can see them now, black against the sun. Not the birds, something else. Someone’s coming. Someone is speaking to me. Now look. Now look what you made me do.