Fulfilling an ancient prophecy, a raven has left the Tower of London

There's a British superstition that, "if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it." The six ravens are believed to have come to the tower in the late 1600s, during the reign of Charles II, and possibly in response to the Great Fire of London—although some legends suggest they were in 1536, watching calmly over the execution of Ann Boleyn, and later, of Lady Jane Grey.

Anyway, the Raven Queen, Merlina, has been missing for months. According to the New York Times, her official status has changed from MIA to AWOL, with the custodians of the Tower saying that, "her continued absence indicates to us that she may have sadly passed away."

Of course, the descendents of King Arthur know how to deal with fantastical portents. Ravenmaster Skaife—yes, that is his real name—has cleverly kept an extra bird at the ready, to ensure that the number of ravens never dips below the fabled six.

That this news comes just as the Brexit deal was finalized is surely just coincidence.

A Raven Queen Vanishes, and Britain Checks a Prophecy [Alan Cowell / New York Times]

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