A Fable Told by the Wind

Once upon a time, snow fell and blanketed the earth. 

When spring came, the snow saw snow around it melting and sensed danger. It decided that after it melted into water and soaked into the ground, it would transform itself into some other being in the soil. And, in the soil, the snow became a worm. It felt good to be in the soil. But after spending all of its time in the soil, the worm wanted to know about the world above ground. It decided it wanted to become a seed so that it could sprout. So be it – the worm became a seed. The seed sprouted. The sprout then budded in the earth and flourished, fast stretching out branches. It grew up, into a tree.

The tree caught the image of its branches reflected in a lake and became entranced. Soon, a fish came swimming by. Thinking it couldn’t swim and move around like the fish, the tree sensed danger. And the tree turned into a fish. The fish swam from the lake into a river. As it travelled downstream along the mountain, the fish encountered a rabbit. Seeing the rabbit’s white fur, the fish decided it wanted to be an animal with fur. And the fish turned into a rabbit. The rabbit scampered around the wood. A sudden raise of the head caught in the rabbit’s vision something that looked liked a cushion soaring through the sky. It was a flying squirrel. And the rabbit thought this flying squirrel gliding from tree to tree seemed more powerful than itself. And the rabbit became a flying squirrel. The flying squirrel decided that it was dangerous in the mountains unless its body was a little bit bigger. And the flying squirrel became a tanuki. But the tanuki’s legs were short, and it couldn’t run long distances as easily as a fox. So the tanuki decided it wanted to be a fox. And the tanuki became a fox. One day, the fox encountered a black bear, very much bigger than itself. The bear seemed like it might attack the fox. And the fox realized that being small was dangerous. 

The fox became a bear. But a wolf chased the bear, so the bear became a wolf. The wolf thought itself more powerful than any other creature on the mountain, and climbed up a hill to howl. Upon this, an arrow flew towards it. Looking in the direction from which the arrow had come, the wolf saw a human. And the wolf decided it wanted to be a human. The wolf shed its fur and became a human woman. The human wove grass and made clothes. A human man used a spear to hunt, and the human woman kindled a fire and cooked the meat. Birds were struck with bows, children were born, trees were cut down to make a boat that was used to row to sea, a harpoon was used to bring down a whale. The whale’s meat was too delicious, and after the humans were full they became sleepy.Suddenly the human noticed a cat napping at its feet. The human decided it wanted to be a cat. And the human became a cat. As the cat napped, a butterfly flew near it. The butterfly fascinated the cat. It chased the butterfly, trying the best it could to catch it. Chasing it over and over, the cat finally turned into a butterfly. The butterfly flew high in the sky, all the way to the ocean. There, it encountered birds that were also migrating. The butterfly decided it wanted to become a migrating bird and go even further away. The butterfly turned into a bird. As the bird was thinking it wanted to fly even higher in the sky, a comet passed by. The bird became a comet. The comet kept colliding with other comets, quickly becoming a big planet. The planet finally turned into the sun. Always burning and too bright, the sun longed for the dark of night. And as dusk fell, the sun transformed into night at the same time. It felt good to be the night filling up the void with utter darkness. One day, a star twinkled in the body of the night and next, the moon ascended the sky. The moon was becoming full. And when it was full, the night was no longer a completely dark void. The illumination of the moonlight meant that the night was able to gaze upon the mountains. The mountains were capped by the first snowfall of the year. The snow shone brilliantly in the moonlight. And then, the night finally remembered that it had once been white snow.

Tomoko Konoike