The Wind Bird

Programming / Tales

As this is not a tale from my country, I ask your indulgence.
This tale comes from North America and tells the strange story of a young boy, named Gunoyak – or Tihao in another version.

Here I am again with my sea stories – you will eventually suspect that I love the sea a lot – What to do with it in a theatre? create it, of course –
You know, shows for young audiences are the ones where I’ve seen the most creativity – I have every confidence.

But – as I don’t speak English very well – and I can’t draw at all – I’m going to need all your visual imagination – to be able to anticipate what it would look like on stage and especially, what it would look like, if you were in the youngster’s place, a little firefly clinging to Gunoyak’s hair, and living with him, as close as possible and in virtual reality, what this young hero is going through.

Are you ready?

Imagine a simple fishing village built on a rocky coast. The boats are pulled up on the beach every night – the fishing nets are spread out lengthwise – some have holes in them and the holes have to be mended.
The sea is there, immense, terrifying.
In the background, a point that runs into the sea – covered with water and foam – we can hardly hear – the wind blows, and blows and blows continuously, with gusts that make the houses crack, the shrubs bend and the sea explode on the houses -.

which requires a nice preparation of the scene – which can be quite spectacular – with the current work on the video and the different filters/films stretched which allow to work the image on several planes, it can give an extraordinary effect.

It was in the old days, when one went to get his food by dint of patience, endurance and tears.
Gunoyak was a very young boy – when he grew up he would be like all the men in the village, a great fisherman – an exceptional fisherman, because he was not afraid.
But would he have time to grow up?
For days and days, the sea had been white with anger and foam, its waves breaking on the shore and carrying away everything in their anger
The sky was so gray that it was no longer distinguishable from the waves, and as far as the eye could see, there was only a twisted and furious mass of white and gray.
The last of the fish had long since been eaten and no one could set sail.
The cheeks grew hollow, the fever appeared in the eyes of the children, which became red and bright
But the wind did not fall, neither by day nor by night
It drove the sea, the men and the beasts mad
But it never weakened

Then the Gunoyak’s uncle asked him to go and see on the beach, if he would not find dead fish thrown up by the waves.

On the beach, there was a lot of twisted seaweed. Big dead trees, brushed by the salt, even more
But not a fish, not a crab, not a shell

The child had good eyesight – and he was eager to prove to the men that he was big enough now – he too could become a great fisherman. So he scanned the horizon and saw nothing but waves being swept up to the sky and crashing down in a thousand, and a thousand crumbs of foam, swept away at once and smashed even faster.
The wind, the rain, the salt froze his face, but he did not move, he wanted to understand.
Then he saw – he thought he saw – at the end of the great point, on the last rock swept by the sea – like immense wings.

His heart beat violently: was it him? Was it him, the windbird? The one who gave birth to all the winds and all the storms? The one who was talked about in the evening and that nobody had seen?

He didn’t ask himself if it was safe to venture out on the rocks on a stormy day of rain and sea – obviously it wasn’t safe.
He didn’t wonder if he would get hurt sliding down the rocks – he knew he would get hurt and arrive at the point with bloody hands and probably legs too.
He hurt himself – oh yes, he hurt himself – he slipped and saw himself die but his hand was stronger, he escaped from the waves that were dragging him and at the end of the world, at the point, on the last rock – yes it was him, the windbird that furiously waved his big white wings and gave birth to the storm that did not stop.

– Grandpa, aren’t you cold? he shouted to the bird
– No, the bird answered.
But its feathers were soaked, it was shaking with all its body thinned and furious
– I can see that you are very cold – if you want, I can carry you on my back to the shore and you can warm up.
The bird did not answer at first, and it seemed to the child that the winds became stronger and more violent
Then everything stopped – the wind bird lowered its wings, looked him in the eyes and slowly answered:
– Okay.

Then Gunoyak approached the god-bird, crouched down so that it could sit on his back – grabbed each wing so that it would not fall – the wind stopped and the bird and the child returned to the shore.
But with each shake of the bird, a wave rose and crashed against the rocks
Gunoyak then had a somewhat treacherous idea – but his village had to be saved.
A few centimeters from the shore, instead of paying attention to where he put his feet, he slipped – the bird fell off his back and broke a wing.

Gunoyak didn’t give him time to be angry – he immediately grabbed the wing and put it back on its feet.

– Don’t worry grandpa, it will be fine soon – will you let me heal you?

The bird agreed.
Gunoyak carried it to a sheltered spot – he laid down a soft, dry layer – and then set about making a makeshift splint for the broken wing.

– I’ll come and feed you, he said to the bird, but you mustn’t move until your wing is fixed.

I can’t tell you if the bird understood the young man’s ruse – but it nodded – settled into its sheltered nest.
And the sky, the sea, the world became calm and peaceful again.
One could fish at the shore, so calm was everything

Every day, Gunoyak went to feed the bird and told it about the sea, the fish, the clouds in the sky.

Wouldn’t that be a nice ending?

But alas, the sea was too calm.
So one morning, instead of nice fat fish to catch, we saw the sea, covered with a whitish foam, in which the fish were floating, upside down – dead and ugly dead.
And when we approached the water, we were almost suffocated by the pestilence that came out of it

What was this curse?
Gunoyak was young – but his head was fast: the wind.
The sea needed the wind to live!

So he ran to the wind bird that was dozing on its bed of dry leaves.
He asked him how his wing was doing – the bird didn’t know, it was stuck on his wing.
So the child took off the splint – gently ran his hands over the broken bone – it seemed to have recovered.
He asked the bird if it could move again: it could.

Then the wind bird gently flapped its wings and the foam on the sea began to quiver.
The wind bird flapped louder and the whole sea began to live again

Gunoyak was so happy that he didn’t think to ask the bird to stop making eternal storms and he watched it take off, all its wings spread and beating energetically, while the sea came back to life, at last, the waves formed and the foam started to dance again.

The moral is not said but it is simple: it is excess that is dangerous – this is useful to hear and hear again, child or adult, isn’t it?

As for the experience in Sweet Mode of Virtual Reality, then this one, if it exists, will be memorable and engraved in the heads of all those who will have had the chance to live it.

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Featured Image : Laysan Albatross – photography by Marcel Mochet

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