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The contrasts between these ballads have bothered editors for a long time. In both the versions, the birds (ravens and corbies) are thinking about the place to get a meal. In both cases, a bird reports that there is a dead knight’s body lying in a nearby field. In the English ballad, the ravens compose a funeral song for the dead knight while listing his faithful attendants such as hound, hawk and leman (Brown 71). In contrast, the corbies in the Scottish ballad precisely lists the knight’s attendants because they are absent. They have heartlessly abandoned him, leaving him as carrion for the birds that are planning to pluck out his “bonny blue een” (Child 21). The last stanza of the “Twa Corbies”, acquires a unique figurative complex, which links and assesses the relations between birdsong, human song and windblow. The birds mediate between cognitive sentience of poiesis (Child 21) and inanimate nature. Like humans, birds can also communicate, however; they cannot perform a reflection on the nature of their communications. Both the “Three Ravens” and the “Twa Corbies” are discussing a potential meal, which is a slain knight (Child 21). In the English version, the slain knights are chillingly loyal, but are hawk, hound and lady abandon him, in the lady’s case.
The first significant difference between these versions of ballad poem is their titles. One version is titled “Three Ravens” while the other is “Twa Corbies”. “Twa Corbies” is Scottish meaning older and more primitive undertone while “Three Ravens” is English meaning modern and more sophisticated with the use of stylistic devices and language (Brown 71). However, in spite of this significant difference, both the titles are about three birds with the mythological number implying different implications. For instance, the “Three Ravens” primarily focuses on Christian values of hope and loyalty, which are reflected within the symbolic
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