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Features > A bird for all seasons: the qualities that we ascribe to the Robin tells us more about ourselves

19 December 2017 | by Simon Barnes

A bird for all seasons: the qualities that we ascribe to the Robin tells us more about ourselves


A bird for all seasons: the qualities that we ascribe to the Robin tells us more about ourselves

The robin

 

At what point does the legend become truer than the fact? This is not a new question for people who follow a religion – but it’s just as pertinent for people who believe they live a strictly secular life. So let’s talk about robins. After all, Christmas is coming.

And let’s start off with two great robin myths. The first is that the robin’s breast was stained by the blood of Christ after the bird had removed thorns from the sacred head, sore wounded. There’s a truth in this, no doubt, even though it’s not a literal truth. The second myth – the revisionist myth – is that robins are birds of incontinent viciousness: feathered psychopaths, no less. 





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