Crow and Caper, Caper and Crow

By: Margo Lanagan

Star Rating:



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When Pen's only son married, he and his new bride moved far away. This saddened her, because her son had fallen in love with a young woman she thought was normal and who was afraid of Pen's magical powers. As the birth of her first grandchild approaches, Pen uses her magic to travel a long distance over sea and land to visit them and offer a blessing for the babe, but when she arrives, she discovers things about both her daughter-in-law and her new granddaughter that surprise her.


Crow and Caper, Caper and Crow is a short story about a woman who uses her magical powers to travel a long distance over sea and land to visit and bestow a blessing on her newborn grandchild. Once there, she gets a surprise from her daughter-in-law, whom she thought was a normal human, and discovers the babe is much more than she ever would have imagined.

Unlike the other stories in Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron (the anthology in which this story is found), which mostly have teen and college-aged protagonists, Pen, the main character in Crow and Caper, Caper and Crow, is a middle-aged, though well-preserved, grandmother. As such, she may not be as relatable to the younger readers at which the anthology seems to be aimed, but there was nothing objectionable in the content of the story. As a middle-aged mom, I could relate to her and was enjoying the story pretty well right up until the end. A huge bombshell is revealed, but then Pen just goes back home almost as if nothing has happened. I was left with more questions than answers, wanting to know more about the baby, what she becomes, and how her parents deal with that, especially since the baby's mother was uncharacteristically asking Pen for help that didn't seem to come. Also I was a bit baffled as to why Pen only passed her son in the stairwell, leaving her glamor spell in place, but never greeted him after traveling such a long distance. Overall, the story was well-written, but I felt like there was much more to tell so it didn't leave me fully satisfied.


Margo Lanagan @ GoodReads