Encouraged by her mother to make new friends in Trolberg, Hilda instead buddies up to an injured bird who's lost his memory.
The episode opens with Hilda, Twig, and Alfur inside a tent, which is approached by a seemingly dangerous creature. However, the creature is just Johanna since the tent is inside Hilda’s bedroom. Johanna insists Hilda comes into town with her, and Hilda reluctantly agrees.
Trolberg is preparing for the annual Bird Parade, and Johanna suggests she and Hilda should go see it. While walking through the city, they spot a group of kids; a boy named Trevor and his friends. Johanna encourages Hilda to hang out with them. Hilda is briefly distracted by a mysterious lightning, despite the sky being clear. Then she summons her courage and talks to the kids, who agree to let her come along.
However, it soon becomes clear the four kids are only out to play pranks on people, like Ding dong ditch, with Hilda not understanding what they find so funny about it. When they start throwing rocks at birds, with Trevor actually hitting a raven, Hilda has had enough. As Hilda examines the injured bird, the raven reveals he can speak. Trevor hears it too, but Hilda quickly runs off with the raven, and since they didn’t hear it speak, Trevor’s friends don’t believe him.
Hilda takes the raven home, and helps him fill out the paper work so he can see Alfur. She keeps him hidden for Johanna however. The Raven is understandably shaken by the experience, and has lost his memory. He believes he has to do something important, but can’t remember what. The only thing he does remember is that it involves a statue of a bald, bearded man with a cape.
Johanna calls Hilda to go see the parade. Using the excuse that she forgot her wallet, she quickly searches Hilda’s room, finds the raven, and puts him outside. Alfur follows. He suggests they try to find the statue themselves, but the Raven has even forgotten how to fly, forcing the two to walk. Johanna meanwhile tells Hilda more about the parade; it is to honor the Great Raven, who visits Trolberg every year to bless the city with good luck. If he doesn’t show, it’s a sign bad times are coming. So far, this happened only once. Hilda realizes the raven she found is probably the Great Raven, and tells her mom about it. The two rush home, but the raven is already gone.
As Johanna and Hilda search the city for the raven, with Johanna teaching Hilda how to find her way around, the raven and Alfur run into some cats. They barely escape, and accidentally end up at the statue in the process. Unfortunately, Trevor is there too and captures the raven again to prove he’s not crazy. Hilda and Johanna arrive at the statue moments later, disappointed that the raven is not there. Hilda spots a bell tower and heads there to get a better view. Meanwhile, the parade is about to begin, and people begin to worry why the Raven hasn’t shown up yet.
Trevor takes the raven in a cage to his friends and tries to force him to talk, but the raven keeps silent. Alfur opens the cage so the raven can escape, and attacks Trevor (which, since his friends can’t see Alfur, looks like Trevor is just making funny faces). Despite Alfur’s efforts, Trevor captures the raven again.
From the tower, Hilda spots Trevor, who is about to threatening to throw the raven into the river, cage and all, if he refuses to speak. Alfur startles Trevor, causing him to accidentally drop the cage. Hilda dives into the water and reminds the raven that he’s the Great Raven. This restores his memory; he grows to his actual size and takes off into the sky with Hilda on his back. He confesses to Hilda that he is actually just a thunderbird, and doesn’t bring good luck. Centuries ago, he visited Trolberg and landed on the statue, causing the locals to think he was a messenger of their god. When the harvest was surprisingly good that year, the people thought it was his doing and started the festival to worship him. The bad year when he didn’t show up was also coincidence. Still, he likes to give people hope, hence why he keeps coming to the town every year.
The Great Raven unleashes his lightning to announce he came after all. The parade is started up again. The Great Raven drops Hilda off with her mom, and they watch the parade together.
- Trevor’s friends
- Matilda Pilqvist
- David's dad (cameo in the crowd)
- David's mom (cameo in the crowd)
- This episode is loosely based on the graphic novel Hilda and the Bird Parade, but makes a lot of changes to the plot of that novel; multiple scenes from the graphic novel are left out (like Hilda and the raven encountering a Salt-Lion and three mice that they mistake for the Rat King), and new material is added (like Trevor having a larger role, and the Sparrow Scouts making a guest appearance).
- The scene at the start of the episode, with Hilda in her tent, is adapted from "Hilda and the Black Hound".
- During their brief cameo in the crowd, David's parents can be seen with two children. It is currently unknown who these children are, since they are not seen again after this episode.
- The episode was adapted into the novel "Hilda and the Great Parade".
- The can that Trevor and his friends kick around (and Hilda accidentally kicks onto a roof) resembles a Campbell's Soup can.
- Hilda discovering that the raven is the Great Raven, reminding him who he is and The Great Raven subsequently regaining his memory and powers is similar to Chihiro discovering that Haku is the Spirit of the Kohaku River in the 2001 Studio Ghibli film, Spirited Away.