Aaron Steinmetz

...be very still...the bird's angry...and I think he can see us.

Willy Weathers and his Magic Wool Coat

Young Willy Weathers would walk outside whether the snow or the rain would fall down. To keep himself warm he would wrap round his arms a dense coat of wool and of down. The cold town of Winters unleashing with fervor the freezes and frosts of cold seasons, would blizzard and hail and constantly rail the locals with ice without reason.

But one day while walking young Willy was talking to friends that nobody could see. The cold rain diminished, the long freeze had finished and Winters was warm to the seas. Astonished, perplexed all the townsmen were vexed by the newly found warmth in the town. It stayed through the day, but at once went away when Willy removed his wool gown.

The cold people learned that the warmth had been earned by magic inside of the wool. There followed a meeting the town there entreating to Willy and his magic shawl. The young boy agreed that his own selfless deed was to wear his coat twenty-four seven and thus that they may live in weather like May so the souls of the townsfolk would leaven.  The temp’ratures rose and abolished the snows that accumulated over years and Winters had weathers that rivaled the breathers that tropical islands endear.

But for little Willy, alas, little Willy was baking from his mantled crutch. Fortuitous townsmen could see not the oilskin that made Willy suffer so much. They all could not see through their absconded glee that the fainting spells he had were rife, and nobody looked when the fast current took him, for heat stroke had taken his life.

Their sun now much stronger, the townsmen no longer wished for the heat-wave to go on. They sought Willy Weathers to take off his feathers but knew not where Willy had gone. They found in the river that bisected Winters his body, the mantle, still one. The townsmen relented, rescinded, repented, and mourned o’er the loss of their son. And once they took back the old coat from his back the cold weather to Winters returned, and as for the coat the town placed on a boat, the people symbolically burned.

This legend I learned from an old man who turned from the desp’rate desires for heat, in the days of the cession for Willy’s concession had left Winters frozen in sleet.

The people are older and do not remember why Willy has left us and how. And so to their death they will, under their breath, mutter, "Where is that weathered coat now?"