Ice looked on at the flame of Fire flickering in the distance. Fire seemed still and content, seemingly unaware of the wind that was gaining strength around them. Ice thought the wind would surely kill Fire, and thus ran to the rescue.
“Fire! Fire! The wind is out to destroy you!” But Fire’s flames flickered on, unperturbed by the mounting violence of the wind. Ice grew frantic with each gust of wind that blew, “Fire! Please, Fire! Move away! The wind…” The strongest whoosh! drowned the rest of the warning. Still, Fire blazed on. Undisturbed, unaware of all attempts of salvation. Ice, adamant and determined to save Fire, drew closer still.
“Can you not hear me, Fire? I am warning you to shield yourself from this deadly wind. Death is knocking at your door the more you entertain this. Come now, protect yourself.”
As if waking from a sacred stupor, Fire slowly turned and said, “What’s wrong, Ice? I am sleeping.” Amazed at the sheer apathy in Fire’s voice, Ice drew even closer, “Do you not feel the wind rising against us? We will die unless we shield ourselves from it! Hurry and protect yourself.” Ice was very nearly screaming now; the wind had grown even stronger the last few seconds.
Fire looked bored. Why was Ice making such a ruckus over nothing? “The wind is my friend. I won’t get hurt.” It seemed so ridiculous having to point out the obvious. Couldn’t Ice see that the stronger the wind became, the bigger Fire grew? Was it so hard to see? What a dimwit! And what’s worse, Ice inched closer still. Now Fire was getting a little irritated.
“What do you want?”
“How can you say the wind is your friend? It’s violent. It destroys everything. Do you not feel weaker and weaker with each second that passes?” The genuine concern in Ice’s voice would have moved anyone close to tears, or empathy at least. But not Fire.
“I only feel strength. Like I said, the wind is my friend.” With that, Fire blazed hotter than ever before. Ice gasped.
Of course…I feel so weak…of course.
“OF COURSE!!!” Ice screamed.
Fire turned away, trying to go back to sleep. But Ice kept screaming.
“You and the wind are trying to destroy me. ME!”
“Don’t come any closer, Ice. You will regret it.” The matter-of-fact tone that Fire used was even more menacing than the raging wind.
“Is that a threat? You dare threaten me when all I ever did was try and protect you? Well then, if the wind is your friend, bargain on my behalf. Tell it to stop this violence and spare my life. You owe me that at least.”
Indignation flowed out with every word Ice said and every drop that Ice lost. Fire was blazing hot now, turning Ice into a mere puddle. The wind carried away some of the water droplets, so that Ice was left feeling doubly weak with each passing second. No response came either from Fire or from the wind. It was double trouble, and Ice was the victim.
“If you won’t tell the wind to stop, will you at least hide me in your shadow? I may yet be able to regain my strength and flee.” When Fire blazed on, Ice let out a desperate whisper, “Please. I beg you. Cover me in your shadow.”
“You idiot! I am powerful, and everyone knows true power has no shadow. There is nowhere you can go where you won’t feel my glare burning through your every molecule. You sealed your fate the moment you woke me from my sleep.” With that, Fire blazed so scorchingly that all of Ice turned into a mere puddle. Still, the wind blew violently.
As Ice, now Puddle, sank deeper and deeper, a surrounding voice boomed, “Why do you look sorrowful?” It was the Earth. “Fire has taken away all my power,” came the faint response. “How so?” asked Earth.
“I once was a terrifying Ice-berg. Solid and majestic. I was strong, and all the living creatures loved me. But Fire conspired with the wind, and together, they melted me till I became what you see now. A Puddle.” With that, Puddle began to sob. So deep was the sorrow that Earth almost felt bad for chuckling. Almost.
“Oh, you find my plight funny?” said Ice through the sobs.
“Oh Puddle, It is not your plight I find funny. It is Fire’s.”
“You’re not making any sense,” replied Puddle.
“You see, with each Ice-berg Fire melts – and believe me, there are many who have fallen prey to that meany – Puddles are formed. They sink into the Earth, where the Earth directs them to a channel. There, united and free-flowing, they shall become one. And do you know what happens when a million Puddles become one? Come on now, take a guess.” Earth could not contain her excitement.
“Err, they become a river?”
“More than a river, my child. They become an Ocean. An Ocean, I say! Big, powerful, frightful. And do you know what happens when Puddles become Ocean?”
Puddle couldn’t help but feel excited too, although the answer to Earth’s question failed. “I have no idea what becomes of Ocean.”
“Oh, you simple, innocent Puddle. So much like your predecessors. When Puddles become Ocean, the wind cannot stand against it. Soon, the wind will have no choice but to obey what Ocean commands. Waves as high as mountains will rise, and -”
“And Ocean will finally put out Fire once and for all!” Puddle was beyond ecstatic! All was not lost after all.
“Mother Earth, where can I find the other Puddles?”
“Go deeper, deeper until you reach solid ground. Then flow where the ground takes you. A channel has been formed already from the tears of your predecessors. Flow, and keep flowing until you reach the end. There, you will find them, watching and waiting.” And with that, Puddle was off to become Ocean.
Fire, still blazing on, watched as the ground where Ice once stood became dry. True power casts no shadow, for it is in shadows that the enemy lies. But there were two things that Fire forgot: first, that the wind was selfish, and only served the biggest master, and second, Ice could never really die. The Earth could have pointed that out, but what real mother wants her children suffering at the hands of a bully? So she waited for the next Puddle to arrive, and to tell of the good news of the Ocean…