Two fine metaphors here, describing the nature and the cry of jays, though the first of these is by now no doubt politically incorrect. I like also the ‘noise of tearing linen’.

‘They were among birds what the Irish are among men, always ready in a merry and audacious life to go where there is trouble and not infrequently to be the cause of it. Raising their crests and contracting their light blue eyes, the six jays screamed with the noises of tearing linen.’

Source: Henry Williamson, Tarka the Otter: His joyful water-life and death in the two rivers, illus. C.F. Tunnicliffe (Harmondsworth: Puffin Books, 1976 (1927)), p. 63

Photo credit: stux at


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