I think this has rather a Hans Christian Anderson style.
Warnings: graphic noise for death (not human); slightly strange all over
No one knows
Where the Wind goes
Or all of the places she's been
All we know is that she blows
From the tos to the fros
And sees whatever there is to be seen
The Wind blew. She blew through the trees on the hills, ruffling their leafy heads. She blew through the bustling cities, and through the little towns which had no name. She was scudding joyfully over the glistening blue waters of a lake as the sun set when, suddenly, she heard a voice. It was quite near, low and soft and gentle.
"Oh!" it said, sighing. "If only I could fly everywhere about as the Wind does, then I should be perfectly happy!"
The Wind saw that it was a Tree speaking. It was a very fine Tree; big-limbed and majestic, he towered over the rest of the forest. He provided shelter for the little wandering creatures of the wood and the birds rested in his brown, bark-covered boughs, but still he was not happy. He felt there was something more. Wasn't there ANYTHING else that a noble tree could do except wave uselessly in the sunshine?
The Wind laughed and whispered through his branches. "You are what you are," she said wisely, and the Tree sighed once more, reluctantly admitting, "I suppose I am."
The Wind laughed again, a tinkling, gentle laugh. This Tree was unlike any tree that she had ever blew through before. The two, laughing together, did not notice that someone was watching them.
They were startled from their thoughts as they heard, quite distinctly from the ground, a small voice, raised up in an earnest plea.
"Oh, Tree," the voice said politely, "may I sleep under your cooling shade? Oh, Wind, will you blow for me?"
The Tree and the Wind were astonished. This little human Boy looked quite faint; the sun was burning down and he was very weary. He was wearing tattered clothes and appeared to be quite poor, but they could see that he was beautiful and kind.
In answer, the Wind ruffled his fair brown hair and the Tree threw his cooling shade over the Boy. Presently, in these comfortable conditions, the Boy fell fast asleep.
And as he slept, he dreamed.
The Wind thought she knew what he was dreaming about, for she always took note of the children she passed, and often thought of them as she flew over the hills, the bad and good alike. This boy she had met almost a year ago, living in a little cottage on the outskirts of a tiny town.
As the Boy dreamed, he murmured in his sleep, tossing and turning on the soft springy grass. He dreamed of his family – his weary, tired mother who tried her best always; his little twin sisters who were too young to be really know about anything, and gurgled and smiled as only babies can. Shortly after they were born, the father had left. The Boy's mother had gotten a job to wash clothes, but the Boy knew she could not keep it up; she had shadows under her eyes and rarely ever smiled, despite his efforts to help her and cheer her. So, one night, he left a crudely written note on a scrap of paper, gathered a few of his meagre belongings and crept silently out the door. Before shutting out the homely cottage, he whispered one promise: "I will find work, and when I do, I promise you, I will bring you everything we need."
He muttered these words now in his sleep. The Wind saw the frown on his face and caressed his hair. The Tree bent strong young branches over his face as if to protect him; and then he, too, slept, dreaming of the patter of raindrops on his leaves.
The Earth was hot and sleepy; even the Wind did not stir much. There was not one sound. The birds were quiet in the trees and the stream murmured gently, but every now and then, the Wind woke up to stir up the grass and check the Boy. He was quiet now, without dreams, sleeping peacefully.
The Boy slept for hours and hours as the sun sunk toward the hills, and the Wind knew it would soon be time for her to blow through the bustling cities and through the little towns again. The Tree woke up, stretching his limbs to catch the last rays of the sun. The Wind dipped in the leaves and rustled up the grass; but still the Boy did not wake, and reluctantly, she left.
She flew over the cities and the towns, lingering in one particular tiny town. She flew at once to a little cottage on the outskirts of this town where a woman was washing clothes. A pair of pretty, downy-haired little girls tumbled at her feet, smiling and giggling.
"Oh! If only I knew he was safe!" the woman moaned. "I should have known – I could have stopped him." And she shed a few bitter tears into the wash-tub.
The Wind had pity on her, and quite suddenly and perhaps impulsively, she flitted to her side and whispered, as soft as a feather, "Your son is safe."
The woman started and jerked upright, scattering soap suds on the grass. She blinked and said to herself, softly and thoughtfully, "It is as almost as if I heard the words that I so wish to hear! Maybe I imagined it ... but ... somehow, I feel that everything's all right." She smiled to herself, her face lighting up as she did so, and, pondering still on the words that the Wind had whispered into her ear, she entered into the cottage again.
The Wind left. She was content. The mother knew her son would be all right. Everything was right. It was dusk now, and a single star shone in the violet sky overhead, but the Wind did not hurry; she could go well enough in the dark, and so she made her slow way back to the Boy and the Tree.
When she got back, the Boy was gone. The Tree told her that some wandering travellers had asked him to come with them; they would give him work and look after him. The Wind was happy for her little friend; he would be able to make some money now, and send some to his poor worried mother.
But there was a sadness that lingered in her heart.
She made herself happy in the days and months and years that followed. She played in the treetops, rushed over rivers and swooped down ravines and over precipices. She blew her warm breath on little cold girls, lost alone on the street; she comforted a man as he breathed his last, flying to urge the horses who brought the man's family to see him; she strengthened the eagles as they rode on her back with their soft feathers brushing against her; she made mischief when she was bored and blew the clothes off the washing line; but still, she was restless. She had promised. Oh yes, she remembered the promise she had made to that woman at her wash-tub, crying for her son. He is safe. How could she keep that promise if she did not even know where the son was? She had searched for him in the streets, in the hills and in the valleys. She did not realise that he would be grown up by now – changed; for to her, to the mighty Wind, everything was timeless.
The Boy's mother had since moved from the tiny town to a city; she had married again to a loving husband who treated her and her two daughters with respect, and she was happy. She did not often think of the brave son who had gone in the dead of night to earn money for his mother. He had never sent back any money, and so, gradually, she had forgotten him, or else chose not to think about him. The mother had mourned for him as if he were dead; to her, he was. The Wind could not at all work it out. Humans were strange. They puzzled yet intrigued her at the same time, with their traditions and their greediness and the curious way they thought. And it was funny that they should forget so fast! She herself never forgot a thing. She often went to visit the mother in the hope that the son had come back, but to no avail. The Boy was gone without a trace.
The Tree, now old and gnarled, a shadow of the proud tree he had once been, thought often of the Boy too. In his mind, sitting in the forest every day, the Tree grew to love the Boy, and hoped he would one day see him again, and perhaps help him. So one day, when there was the sound of a familiar voice in the forest, he went tense with excitement. The voice came closer.
The Wind was not there. She had gone to fly over the hills. She had done this often over the years; but she always came back. She felt an attachment to this Tree that had helped her to watch over the Boy who for one day had slept in their care; and she was still mindful of the wish that the Tree had made. He had wanted to be something more, and, little did they both know, he soon would.
A man suddenly broke into the clearing where the tall Tree sat. The Tree recognised the Boy at once. But he was not a Boy anymore! He had a family and wife of his own, now. He still had the same gentle, kind blue eyes, though. The Wind had passed him a fair number of times, but had never really noticed him.
For you must know that Trees never forget a face when they want to remember it, but the Wind, rather naively, it seemed, remembered only the promise and that he was a Boy.
Would the Boy, in turn, recognise the Tree?
(We must call the Boy a Boy, even though he is now a man, because I would get horribly mixed up if we called him a Man.) He had a big cart, hooked to two great stamping bay horses. The cart was already piled about half-way with wood. The Tree noticed this with a wary apprehension.
The Wind was still on the hills, and she danced livelily up and down, swirling the leaves into a lovely red and gold dress, laughing and swishing herself past jealous children watching from the windows of their schoolroom, who wished they could be as free of everything as she was.
But her heart was heavy. She did not feel light and young anymore. She did not know why there was such an ache in her chest. Every night, she gazed up from the hills at the stars and at the heavy, bright yellow moon hanging like a fat ball, watching her.
As she did one late summer night, a she felt a pang and a piercing dread and all of a sudden, she did know why her heart ached.
The Tree. It lingered in her thoughts. The Tree, her friend, the one who had watched over the Boy, tenderly, with her.
Her heart thumping loudly like the beat of rain on a tin roof, she heard more than felt her great breath quicken. The pang came suddenly, sharply again, and she was a whirling fury in seconds, flying, flying, flying as fast as she could. Great, fat tears streamed in her wake, and the people in the villages below wondered, for there was not a cloud to be seen.
The Wind pushed and pushed herself, sure that something was terribly, horribly wrong.
"Oh! If only I am not too late!" she whispered. "If only!"
She went like a rocket, faster than the speed of light. The tears streamed faster and faster, and she whipped the tops of the trees she passed, and the trees were astonished. This was not the gentle Wind they knew. She became fast and furious like a wildcat, howling and lashing at everything in sight in her pain and rage, whipping past villages and cities and mountains and valleys, until they all melded into a blur through her tears. The pangs came, sharper and sharper every moment, filling her with dread.
She knew she was almost there, for everything was familiar ... and then she heard something and stopped dead.
The Tree was wailing.
If you have ever heard a tree wailing, you will never forget it. It was shrieking and screeching as only a Tree who knows that it is dying can. He shuddered and shivered every time the cold metal axe buried deeper into him. But, of course, the Boy could not hear anything. He did not know. He did not know that this Tree was the one that had surely watched over him and silently wished him well through all those years of wandering on his own.
The Wind was frantic as she came upon them. She did not know what to do. Her Tree was being chopped down! What could she do? Oh, what could she do?
The deed had begun, however, and it would be carried through.
The Tree shrieked and wailed for one last time, screaming its dying death chorus out upon the earth, and fell suddenly with a shudder and lay dead upon the ground.
The Wind let up a wail of horror, not unlike the way the Tree had screamed, and rushed at the Boy in a fury, intent to throw him over a cliff or pummel his body to bits to avenge the death of the Tree. She rushed on him like an arrow, and he turned suddenly to face her, aware only of a great roaring wind overhead.
The Wind stopped dead. No, no. It could not be. But, suddenly, unexpectedly, unwantedly, somehow, a memory flew into her brain, of the Boy. It was only a fleeting picture; the Boy's face as he slept and murmured as he dreamed. But it was enough. She had not known! It was the greatest shock of her life to see the Boy, standing there – now a Man.
With a sigh, the Wind dropped like she had slammed into a brick wall. She was so tired, so, so tired and weary from her furious flight. She was shaking with rage and sadness, but it was the Boy. How she had hoped to see him again! But not this way. No, not this way.
It was done. It was over. The Tree was dead. And she, the mighty Wind, could do nothing.
She slipped silently away through the trees with barely a rustle, not bearing to see the Tree chopped up and loaded on the cart for firewood or something insignificant as such.
There is something I must tell you. Winds cannot die. They do not die, not for any reason. Not even from a broken heart. The Wind did recover. She got over it over many eons of time. She got over it, yes, but she never forgot. She never ever forgot.
She even ventured, tentatively, to visit once. The Boy had long since died. His family were still living in the wooden cabin he had built for them himself.
The Wind, as she ventured nearer, felt her breath catch.
It was the Tree. She could feel him. Other trees, yes, but mainly the Tree, that made up the house. And the Wind felt a sudden smile tugging at her and she laughed that tinkling, gentle laugh that the Tree had loved, for what felt like the first time in many eons. The Tree had got its wish. He was useful. He was used every day as the little children drew on his walls, as people came and went between his woody walls. He was bigger than just a tree, now. And the Wind suddenly felt that he would have been happy, where he was. He had loved the Boy, and to have be able to serve him like this, to have be so close to him – even in death ... The Wind laughed again, sadly, but with joy (if you can understand that) and she felt suddenly as if she could fly up to the sun. Yes, the Tree had had his wish.
The Wind darted through the door of the big, solid house ("Solid, sturdy, like the Tree!" she thought, thrilled, not sad about thinking about it for the first time in who knows how long.). There was the Boy's Son there, not unlike his father. He had two little boys, dark-eyed and fair-haired. The Wind caressed their hair as she had caressed the hair of the boy as he had lain in sleep. She tumbled leaves their way and they shrieked for joy.
The Son watched them with a frown. The Wind at once thought of the Tree.
"He is thinking about it," she said to herself naively, like only the Wind can, and, impulsively, she darted to his side. She could not know the mind of humans; and I am glad she did not. The Son, in truth, was worried about money, and his job. I am glad she did not know.
"I forgive you," the Wind whispered in his ear, soft as a feather, light as a breath.
The Son blinked. What were these ... these words in his mind? I forgive you...
He pondered on them as the Wind flew out of the house into the free air. She was not very surprised at herself. She found that she did not feel any bitterness in her heart. The Boy had done what every man had done since God had created the world – it was not his fault. And, she smiled to herself, the Tree had gotten his wish. He would shelter the Boy's descendants for many years to come.
"It is good!" the Wind cried to the skies as she skimmed along the tops of the trees, and she laughed that tinkling, gentle laugh again. "It is good!"
The Tree had found his purpose and his wish. The Wind had found forgiveness and life in her heart. It was good.
The Tree stands in solitude
Picture of life
Worth reading? Please let me know.