Friday, May 11, 2018

The Weather Vane

by Madeleine Kando

Once upon a time, in a far away kingdom, there stood a weather vane on top of an old church. It had been standing there for so long that all its hinges were rusted through and it made the most unpleasant creaking sound every time it swiveled.

And swivel it did because the wind was master in this kingdom. It was howling like a hungry tiger as it blew over the hills and valleys, looking for anything that it could uproot and break. It tore the roofs off of barns and stables, broke windows and made bails of hay and pitchforks fly like birds. It furiously pulled at the trees, broke their branches, ripped off their leaves, but their roots were firmly planted and the trees didn't give in to the angry wind.

The weather vane, who at one time had been a shiny cockerel, took its share of the beating, but it was strongly forged on its spike. The wind blew and blew, almost popping a vein, but all it did was make the weathervane swivel faster and faster, until it got so dizzy it almost fainted.

'Master wind, have pity on me' said the weathervane. 'All this twirling is making me loose my marbles. Soon I won't know which way you want me to face. Besides, my circulation isn’t what it used to be, and all this twirling has caused my arthritis to flare up.' And he creaked something awful as the wind got ahold of his tail.


The Northern wind, though tough and merciless in appearance, was really not a bad sort of fellow and he took pity on the weather vane. He held his breath, which was no mean trick for a wind and waited. The weathervane slowed down and his eyes stopped rolling around in their sockets. He finally came to a full stop staring the Northern wind right in the face. His once proud crest was now flopping down and the bags under his eyes told a story a mile long.

'Master wind' said the weathervane. 'I have to be honest with you. I just don't have it in me any more. I am finished, pooped out. Short of a miracle, I am done for.' And he creaked and squeaked to give some weight to his words. 'Could you be so kind as to notify my next of kin? I have an uncle twice removed somewhere in Romania. He might find it in his heart to pay for my funeral.'

‘Hold on there' said the Northern wind. 'You don't mean old Stanislavsky, the cockerel perched on the roof of Dracul's castle in Transsylvania? I heard from my cousin, the Eastern wind, that he acquired fame and fortune, being so ancient and all. He was cast in the late 9th century, but is still swiveling back and forth, rain or shine. Rust doesn’t seem to affect him at all. They are actually selling replica's of him to tourists back east'.

The weathervane's crest was now hanging over his left eye and he sighed as he looked into the distance. He was too tired to voice an opinion.

'Look, you are not going to croak' said the Northern wind. 'Your kind doesn't have an expiration date, you just need a little oil, that's all. Besides, who is going to show the birds which way to fly? How will the ships know where the rocks are? And the airplanes, huh? Have you thought of them? How will they know which direction to land? Feeling sorry for yourself just because your knees hurt a little is no reason to let everybody else down. Without you, I'll just blow things all over the place. It's going to be chaos!' The Northern wind took out a handkerchief and blew his nose, to hide his emotions.

The weather vane suddenly stopped creaking. 'I never thought of it that way' he said. 'But it's not just my knees, you know. The things I have been forced to watch being perched up here, year in year out. The boozing and fighting, the shouting and crying, all the cruelty and stupidity that people are capable of. It really gets you down.'

‘Tell you what’ said the wind, noisily blowing his nose one last time. ‘I’ll take a detour in these parts, give the neighboring valley an extra dose for a while. I mean, if I don’t blow, there is no telling what will happen to my digestive tract. But that way you can take a break and recover your strength. Deal?’ The weather vane creaked and squeaked loudly, to show how happy that made him.

The next few days were peaceful in the valley. Birdsong and the buzzing of bees filled the air. The weather vane’s strength visibly grew and if you listened intensely, you could hear him hum his favorite tune that he had learnt in his younger years. ‘Up haaaigh in the mountains, there stood an old weather vane, la lalala la…’

The next morning, a loud banging woke him up. He blinked once or twice to make sure he wasn’t seeing things and realized that someone had placed a large weathervane on the barn next to the church. He had never seen anything so beautiful. He recognized it as a swan, its long graceful neck formed a perfect S shape, and a pair of gorgeous wings were draped around its voluptuous body. It was the color of pure gold. It looked at the weathervane with its emerald green eyes, beckoning it to come closer.

The weather vane was mesmerized and it started to feel a strange thumping in his chest, which he had never felt before. A longing for this beautiful creature had taken over his entire being, perch and all.

‘Good morning ma’am’, he said hesitantly, but there was no answer. He tried again: ‘Isn’t it a gorgeous day, today?’ Maybe she is a foreign beauty, he thought and doesn’t understand English. ‘Gutentag’ he ventured shyly. ‘Salaam?’ No answer.

The swan’s emerald gaze kept enticing him in silence, causing his palpitations to increase. He never felt so much excitement in his long rusty life and almost wished for the wind to return and make her swivel, to show him the fullness of her beautiful body.

But the Northern wind kept his promise and stayed away. The weather vane did a little wiggling to keep some circulation going, and wondered what her name was. Grace? Ariel? Delila? Where did she come from? Who had cast her? A talented goldsmith in a nearby valley?

Days went by, but the swan had not moved. Finally, the Northern wind returned. ‘Hey, bro. Feeling better?’ Before the weathervane could reply, the wind spotted the swan. ‘Holy moly! What a beauty’ he said. ‘A relative of yours?’ And before he could stop himself, he inflated his enormous cheeks and blew with all his might in her direction.

Nothing. No swiveling, no turning, no whirling. The swan’s emerald gaze bore into the Northern wind’s self-esteem like a razor sharp knife. Again the wind blew, but the swan didn’t budge.

‘Well, I never’ said the wind, panting and trying to catch his breath. ‘I better go practice on that cluster of trees over there. Be right back’.

But the wind didn’t come back, his pride was hurt. Days and weeks went by and the heat started to wilt the plants. The birds and bees left to look for cooler pastures. Without the wind, the weather vane no longer turned, the ships crashed on the rocks, the airplanes landed in the wrong direction and the birds flew north and died. The wind was right, everything had become chaos.

One morning, the weathervane felt a strong pair of hands lift him off of the perch that he had been sitting on for all these years and was tossed carelessly on a big pile of rusty objects, most of which he recognized as shovels, rakes, buckets and the like.

He suddenly realized that his days were numbered. As the rusty pile was thrown into the air, he had a few seconds to feel the heat of the furnace before everything went black. His last thought was for the swan and then he knew why she had not spoken or moved. She was there for decoration. She was a beautiful fake. He had been the real thing, but was not satisfied with his lot. He should have remembered his mother’s wise words: ‘Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true.’ leave comment here