Queen of Wands

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The Clouds, They Change – a children’s story

Clouds ascended and descended over the hilltops, whirling into the shapes of big fat creatures. Kites. Balloons. Old friends, their shapes were represented in the sky. Slowly, slowly, breaking apart – reforming into new shapes. New friends. New fat animals.

Turp had laid on his back – on his blanket – all day, watching these worlds form and depart in front of his eyes. He never got bored of it – in fact, it only seemed more interesting as the day went on. Think about it – you go into looking at clouds with a specific shape in mind. For instance, a hippo in a felt hat. For a while as you look at it, you become more and more convinced that it is, for definite, a hippo in a felt hat. Then – slowly, slowly – the parts of the hippo start to drift away from what you’re used to and it looks nothing like a hippo in a felt hat – then what could it possibly be besides a hippo in a felt hat? You’re so used to it being a hippo in a felt hat that it can’t be anything otherwise. But all it takes is a stretch of thinking and to depart from the idea that clouds can only be in the shape of a hippo in a felt hat, or a giant standing on a bicycle, until you can accept that it is something new. Something you’ve never seen before. Could it be a chimp at an accounting job, or even a bottle filled with marbles?

For Turp, that was part of the fun. Clouds were ever changing into new things, as was the world around him. And for Turp, it was all okay. It was about creativity, and learning.

 

But one cloud that he DEFINITELY recognised, coming dark and bloated over the craggy horizon, was a monster of a thundering hail cloud. Clumps of ice, the size of small but-not-too-small boulders, were pelted from its fluffy underbelly onto the little village it hovered over. And, between each volley of icey boulders, it cast a huge CRACK of lightning at the thatch-roofed buildings.

“Youch!” Turp heard a villager scream as a bolt of sharp electricity zapped him directly in the backside.

Well, Turp definitely wasn’t lazy (arguable, since he’d spent the day lying on the hillside). He LEAPT to his feet and ran as fast as he could to the top of the surprising smooth hilltop. From there, he saw the village – the dark cloud hung so low over the buildings, spitefully filling the surrounding walls with cold hate until the village looked like the chilliest and least fun ballpit in the world. Not only that, but the cloud’s lightning had set the tops of the buildings on fire! The cloud was so hateful that its hate was beginning to contradict itself. Soon, the fire would melt the ice, or the ice would put out the fire. Either way, nothing would be achieved – only to make people miserable.

Well, Turp couldn’t just stand there and do nothing about it. He ran down the hill and climbed the walls, where he was high up enough to be close to the cloud. Face to face with it – literally, in fact. When he was that high, he saw that the cloud had a tiny little face that was crumpled up and sour. It was physically straining itself to pour the hail out onto the little village!

And, at the top of his lungs, Turp shouted

“HEY!”

And the cloud looked at him.

“Wot?” it boomed, opening only one of its little eyes to look at Turp.

“Why are you raining such awful things on that poor village?” Turp said. “They haven’t done anything wrong.”

“Oh, they ‘ave!” the dark cloud said. “I mean, I can’t stand the sight of ‘em, and I don’t like ‘em bein’ ‘ere!”

Turp thought for a moment. “But you’re a cloud! You’re free to float around and change shapes, why spend your time doing this?”

“You mind your own business! Its wot I do, and I have lots of fun doing it. Clear off!”

Turp thought for a bit more. This was utterly baffling to him – he couldn’t convince the dark cloud to leave them alone, but what else could he do?

He thought.

And he thought.

And he had an idea.

Turp ran off back over the hill, back up the hill, and back down to the other side ‘til he got to where he had been lying down and looking at the clouds. When he was so far away, he heard the cloud say “Ha! I’ve scared ‘im off, so I ‘ave!”

But that wasn’t the case at all – Turp realised he had what the villagers didn’t; a big, big blanket. It was a little muddy and smeared with grass stains from being on the floor all day – but it was better than nothing. He rolled it up, put it under his shoulder and ran to the bottom of the hill, back up the hill, and back down the other side ‘til he got back to the village. He climbed back up the walls ‘til he was high above the village and next to the big dark cloud. This time, he got a corner of the blanket, tied it to one of the turrets, and moved on to the next one.

“Wot on Earf are you doing?” grunted the cloud, almost distracted from his hailing duties. Turp ignored him, and soon he had all corners of the blanket tied and now the huge sheet covered the village like a big roof. No, like a big umbrella! The hail and the lightning kept coming, but just bounced off and fell onto the surrounding ground. Sure, the blanket was a little soggy, but the village was troubled no more by the foul weather.

“Bah! Whatever, you’re not worf me time.” Grumbled the cloud, and soon floated further and further into the distance until it was just a tiny little speck of spite in the fading distance.

The clouds, they change into new shapes. But some, the ones that bring foul weather – they might not be able to change. Sometimes, the only thing we can do is lend an umbrella to the ones without protection from the rain.

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