In the meantime, Branwen reared a starling at the end of her kneading-trough and taught it to speak. She told the bird what kind of man her brother was.
Mabinogi – Second Branch translated by Sioned Davis
She flutters and alights -- an iridescent delight all feathers and a tiny heartbeat that brings sweet air and sky and sun and wind. And I, tethered to my kneading trough wonder, What words might I teach you, dear starling? What grand words of praise could sing the legend of my father Llyr, so-called exalted prisoner of Britain? deep sea darkness imprisonment What noble bardic lyrics could honour my brother Bendigeidfran, ruler of lost lands and mountains? blessed raven beloved king colossal defender What calculated words of truth could reveal my husband Matholwch, empty king who wooed and deceived me? deceitful diplomat selfish seducer mythic monster And what unspeakable cries of horror could expose my half-brother Efnysien, the traitorous disrupter? deceitful trickster devious mutilator sadistic murderer These are the words of the men who sired me, defended me, betrayed me, tormented me, and silenced me. They are not your words and I will not teach them to you. Instead, I will ask you to teach me your words, dear starling: Words of freedom and flight that will slip our bonds and take us higher and higher above the spires of the trees until only the breeze is our master. Words that float and shift and pull and dip and slip into the aether. Words that seek our flock to find and form in sunset murmurations that whirl and switch and twirl and twist in a dance of carefree joy and truth. Words to let loose these vengeful thoughts and set us both free to seek sweet liberty. *** Image source: Two starlings - Diane Perazzo