Why We Need the Wind
A retelling of a Penobscot Indian Tale
Long ago a boy named Klousap lived in a lodge with his grandmother, Woodchuck. Their lodge looked out over the ocean. Klousap spent his days fishing and hunting ducks.
“I’m going hunting, Grandmother,” he shouted one morning. He put on his hunting outfit, grabbed his bow and arrow, and ran down to his canoe.
It was a blustery day, and as he ran, Klousap thought about how much energy he would need to paddle the canoe out to the ducks he saw on the water. Klousap jumped into the canoe and paddled toward the ducks. He sang as he paddled. But the wind blew in strong gusts that drove Klousap and his canoe back towards the beach, no matter how hard he paddled.
“I’ll have to try again, and paddle harder and sing louder,” he sighed as he sat on the beach, catching his breath. Again, Klousap headed out towards the ducks, paddling as hard as he could and singing louder than before.
But the wind blew even stronger and Klousap found himself back on shore, exhausted and frustrated.
“Grandmother,” he shouted when he got back to the lodge. “The wind is so strong today. Where does the wind come from?”
Woodchuck looked at her grandson. What is he up to? she wondered.
“Why do you want to know?” asked Woodchuck.
“Just because I do, Grandmother,” said Klousap. Woodchuck had a feeling Klousap was up to something but she didn’t know what. And she didn’t want to listen to him asking the same question all day long.
“Way up, on top of the tallest mountain you can see, lives a giant bird named Wuchowsen. The wind is caused by the flapping of his giant wings,” said Woodchuck.
Klousap thought for a minute. “How can I find Wuchowsen?” he asked.
“Walk into the wind, and you will find him,” said his grandmother.
Klousap set off, walking over fields and hills, always into the wind. Finally, he got to the foot of the mountain. The wind blew harder than before as Klousap started to climb the mountain. The higher he went, the more powerful the wind became. It blew with such strength that Klousap lost all of his clothing. He even lost all of his hair from the wind.
“Grandfather!” shouted Klousap, hairless and without clothes.
“Who calls me Grandfather?” Wuchowsen asked as he stopped flapping his wings in surprise.
“I do. You are doing a great job making the wind.”
Wuchowsen, filled with pride at Klousap’s praise, straightened up with pride. He flapped his wings harder than ever, making it almost impossible for Klousap to stay on top of the mountain.
“That’s powerful,” said Klousap. “But I know of a mountain peak nearby where you could make even greater winds blow.”
Klousap wrapped a strap around Wuchowsen and carried him off the mountain. As he climbed up the next mountain, he discovered a large crevice. Klousap jumped across it, but the strap slipped out of his hands. Wuchowsen fell down, down, down into the crevice, only stopping when he became stuck.
Klousap started the long journey back to his lodge. As he walked, his hair grew back because there was no wind.
“With no wind, I will be able to do hunt better,” he said as he put on a new outfit and raced to his canoe
But the air was hot and dry and still so Klousap began to sweat and feel very warm as he paddled.
“The water is awful,” said Klousap to himself. “It is too dirty and it smells horrible.” Klousap paddled back through the thick foam that now floated on top of the water. He didn’t get to hunt at all.
“Grandmother, what is wrong with the air and the ocean?” he shouted as he returned to the lodge.
“We have no wind to keep the water fresh and to bring the rain clouds we need. Everything and everyone is suffering because the wind stopped.” His grandmother looked sad as she spoke.
Klousap ran out of the lodge and all the way back to the crevice where Wuchowsen was stuck.
“Uncle,” he shouted into the crevice.
“Who calls me Uncle?” echoed up from the crevice.
“It is me, Klousap. How did you get down there?”
“There was a very ugly man with no hair. He told me I could make better wind on another mountain but he dropped me into this crevice.”
Klousap climbed down into the crevice, freed Wuchowsen and carried him back to his mountain.
“You know, Grandfath… I mean, Uncle, it is good for the wind to blow sometimes and to not blow sometimes,”
Wuchowsen looked at Klousap. He had been watching him as they walked to the mountain.
“You are right, Grandson,” he said.
And to this day the wind blows sometimes, which is good, and sometimes it doesn’t, which is good, too.
I hope you enjoyed today’s retelling of a nature story about the wind. Why not make up your own story about something in nature. Have fun and be creative!
Drawing is my original. Photos are courtesy of Pixabay.com