Hoopla and the Wind

Having nothing better to do, and being tired from a day of walking, Hoopla thought it well to rest beneath a plum tree that grew beside the road. The white staff that Hoopla had pulled from the fringes of the wood was stood against the smooth bark of the tree, and Hoopla settled down with a long-breathed sigh of relief as sore muscles unwound themselves.

Hoopla slept. The day above the plum tree grew dark and tempestuous; it was into a blustery night that Hoopla woke, full of lightning above the distant trees and the sound of rain slashing against the plums above. Throughout that dark night Hoopla sat, watching the storm. When dawn came, the storm had departed, blown to the east by a brisk wind. Though rested, little indeed was the desire of Hoopla for wandering in such unsettled weather. Into its face this determination Hoopla cast, that until the wind died all of the world should be contained beneath the sheltering branches of the plum tree.

The day waned, and still the wind blew, and still Hoopla sat. For a week the wind blew, and for a week Hoopla sat beneath the plum tree. Spring and summer turned over, and still blew the wind, and obstinate sat Hoopla beneath the fruitful plum tree, feeding on ripe plums, drinking dew and rainwater, and watching the west for the faltering of the wind. Fall, and winter, and spring, and summer, and yet the wind blew, and yet Hoopla sat. Years fell beneath the plum tree, until the white staff that leaned against the plum tree sent forth long green leaves, until the grass grew thick and soft upon the lap of Hoopla, until the beasts of the field and the birds of the air learned courage beneath the plum tree, and still blew the constant wind from the west, and still sat Hoopla, beyond obstinance and impatience and nearly everything.

One hundred and twenty seven years passed in this wise, and then the wind faltered and died, and Hoopla shook like a man falling asleep. The grass tore as Hoopla rose, and the family of birds that had builded a nest upon the wide-brimmed hat squawked and flew angrily away. From the slender white tree that grew close beside the plum tree Hoopla broke a walking staff, then set off for the distant east, and the storm that had gone before.