Tell Me a Story by Amy Friedman and Meredith Johnson


Once upon a time, in the days when the Sun and the Moon and the Wind lived on Earth, in a time when the Spider and the Fly were good friends, each creature knew its place. Everyone was at peace.

But one day the Wind grew tired of blowing. He had been blowing and howling for a long, long time. And so, just before sunset on a chilly autumn day, the Wind swirled to the top of a mountain, curled up behind a big boulder, and fell asleep.

The moment the Wind stopped whistling and whirling, the animals grew restless. The Bear groaned and fretted. The Wolf cried, "How could the Wind leave me this way?" Witty as ever and good-hearted, the Hare raced around, calling out, "Are you hurt, Wind? Answer us! Please, we want to help you, Wind!" The horse whinnied, while the Magpie and the Crow began to screech. The Sparrow wept. The Dog and the Cat and the Goat and the Pig, the Ox and the Ram, the Rooster and the Turkey, the Goose and the Duck -- they all strutted and flounced and sashayed and strode, searching for the Wind.

The Frog croaked, "Where has the Wind gone?" The Snake slithered up and down each tree, searching in vain. The Hornets and Mosquitoes buzzed. The Fleas worried their way into everyone's fur. And the Spider spun in circles, wondering what to do.

At last, the Bear called all the animals together to form a search party. They all agreed. They would send the Spider to find the Wind. The Spider stayed focused on her tasks. She was gentle and strong, dependable and intelligent. "We can trust Spider!" they agreed.

And so Spider set off to search for the Wind.

The Spider is dependable, but the Spider is also slow, and so she was gone for a long time. At last, she climbed a mountain and discovered the Wind behind a boulder. "There you are!" she cried as she crawled close.

The Wind was disturbed. "Go away!" he howled. "Go back where you came from!"

So the Spider began to crawl back down the mountain.

In the meantime, the animals were worried, and so they had decided to send the Fly to search for the Spider to find the Wind. The Fly has keen eyesight and awareness, and the Fly is quick, and so as Spider crawled down the mountain, she came upon the Fly flying up.

"I came to see what was taking you so long," the Fly said. "Did you find the Wind?"

"He's right up there, behind the boulder at the top of the mountain," the Spider said.

The Fly suddenly had an idea. He was so much faster than the Spider, and he wanted the others to believe he had been the one to find the Wind. So he thanked the Spider, turned around and flew back to the others who were waiting for word.

When he arrived at the gathering of the animals, the Fly cried, "I found the Wind! Up on the mountain, behind a boulder, fast asleep! It was a difficult search and I'm sore from my journey, but I succeeded in waking the Wind!"

The animals cheered at this good news. They raised the Fly over their heads. They saluted the Fly. They praised the Fly. "You're our hero!" the Frog croaked. "A champion!" roared the Bear. "The best of all of us!"

Even the Wolf and the Fox and the Woodpecker were impressed, and they seldom were impressed.

"Let's have a party to offer our thanks!" the Hare suggested.

The others agreed.

And soon a party was in full swing, with a great feast and music and dancing and costumes, too.

The party was dedicated to the Fly.

It went on for a whole day and a whole night, with cheers going up every few moments. "Here's to the Fly! Hooray for the Fly!"

At dawn on the second day, the Spider finally made her way back to the clearing.

She was bruised and exhausted from the long, difficult journey. Every limb ached. She could barely take another step. "Hello!" she called to everyone. "I'm home ... I'm back. I found the Wind."

"It wasn't you," hooted the Owl.

"It wasn't you," meowed the Cat.

"It was the Fly," said the Bear and the Bat, the Ox and the Pig, the Horse and the Hound.

"It was me," said the Fly. "I found the Wind!"

"That isn't true!" the Spider argued. "I told the Fly where the Wind was. The Fly didn't climb to the top of the mountain. The Fly never even saw the Wind."

But no one believed the Spider's story. No one wanted to believe they had been fooled. No one wanted to hear that they had given a party for the wrong party. No one wanted to believe it wasn't yet time to celebrate.

So they shouted at the Spider, "Go away! You ought to be ashamed telling lies."

And ever since that day, the Spider and the Fly have been sworn enemies. Ever since that day, the Spider spins her web only to trap the Fly. She eats the Fly. She despises the Fly.

And only the Wind knows the true story. When the Wind blows hard, when the Wind whistles, when the Wind roars and wails he's trying to tell us that story.