Chasing the wind
I wrote the following story for "Redroom". The prompt was to write about "fire, air, earth and water as it applied to the Alchemist's theory that they were the fout components of life.
In a land somewhere in place I do not know lived a boy of an age that I was not told. He lived in house on a street in a city in a valley below a mountain and they all had names that escape me now.
The boy was smart and eager to learn so he listened to writers and poets and men of the cloth but most of all he listened to all the alchemists and the things they would say. He listened as they lectured and he listened to their debates. He listened as they discussed the elements of life which of course was Fire, Air, Earth and Water. He studied their words as they discussed which was the most important and the one above the rest. Fire, Earth and Water all had many champions but air, well air had only one. The many would scoff at the one making all sorts of fun but the one stood his ground and argued his point. Fire, Earth and water I can hold in my hand but now the air, just grab a hand full and see what you have. You see it moved with the wind and left your hand empty and you looking like sheep. Don't you see my dear friends we can all catch the fire and we can all catch the earth and we can all catch the water but only God from up above can catch the wind. And the Alchemists from all over the land had to agree that the one of the Air was more right than they so they offered a reward to the man that could catch the wind.
They issued a proclamation which said, "To any man who can catch the wind we will come together and turn a mountain of dirt into a mountain of gold for him to spend as he desires." The boy was excited because he had studied and he had listened and he knew if anyone could catch the wind it would be him. He knew where the wind came from and to that place he would go. It came from somewhere high in the mountain above and would be easy to catch when it was new. You see he figured that trying to catch the wind in the valley when it was old was stupid and naïve because the wind was too smart to be caught way down here.
So he left for the mountain and walked a long way and he was tired and thirsty and stopped for a drink by a small rillet. As he dipped his mouth and nose into the cool water he saw the image of an old man washing against the pebbles. He hadn't noticed the man before but now he was sitting cross legged and head bowed low just across the rill from him. I didn't see you there the boy said with awe and the old man grinned a one-tooth grin and said I wasn't here back then. Back when, the boy replied? Back when the wind was gone, the old man said. But no matter of me, why are you here? Have you come to see me? No sir, the boy replied. I came to catch the wind. But I am the wind, the one tooth man replied. Touch me and see. The boy reached out to touch the man and he was gone and then back again. There now do you believe the old man chuckled and his misty blue eyes flashed in the sun?
But if you're are the wind and you cannot be caught how can I explain that I am not a fool the boy whispered low. No my son you are not a fool because you came to seek the wind and you found the wind and you talked to the wind and now your wisdom is greater that all the alchemists in the valley below. You see my son the Fire, the Air, the Earth and the Water cannot be tamed. We are the essence of life and to tame one would be to destroy them all. We work as one but we work as all and when you teach the ones down there you will be looked up to as the mightiest alchemist of all.
So the boy returned to the village I have not named and became a man that knew the wind and the people looked up to him because even though he didn't catch the wind he was as the wind. Only the boy who was now a man had spent some time talking to the wind. And he had learned not to try and tame the Fire, the Air, the Earth and the Water and his wisdom and fame spread all across the land and he knew not to chase the wind.