Fiona M Ryan

The Story of Claude the Cloud and Luc the Lake
by Fiona M. Ryan 

Claude the cloud liked to float through the air looking down at the earth below. He liked travelling and
feeling the wind at his back, but sometimes he felt lonely and longed to know what it was like to have a
home.

One day Claude saw something wonderful below him. He saw a beautiful lake: it was so perfectly
round and shone like a disk of polished silver-blue. Claude had never seen anything so beautiful. He
drifted to a lower altitude and called out to the lake “Dear lake, you are the most beautiful lake I have
ever seen! Might I ask your name?”

The lake remained quiet for a moment as it gleamed in the warm June sunlight. “I am Luc” the lake
replied, “Who are you, dear little cloud?”

“I am Claude the cloud.”

“Ah Claude!” sighed the lake, “How lonely it is to be a lake. One sits in the wood with no company but
the honking geese and the little babbling brooks. The trees along my shores are kind, but they do not
really understand me. It is so wonderful to meet someone new... especially a cloud! All day I gaze up
into your sky-world and see only silent clouds pass by... Oh how I long to be a cloud like you and fly
free while I feel the breath of the wind pass through my body!”

Claude was delighted and told Luc all about his journeys through the skies and his encounters with the
temperamental winds.

“How adventurous you are!” exclaimed Luc, “Always travelling about while I am stuck here.”
It saddened Claude that Luc seemed so unhappy. “But Luc,” Said Claude “It is lonely to be a cloud too.
I have only passing acquaintances and beautiful vistas, no true friends and no one I can count on to ease
my mind... I have the winds for company, but they are flighty and too self-important to talk of the
troubles of a little cloud such as myself.” He paused wistfully, “How I long to stay in one place for a
while that I may find somebody to love!”

Luc laughed, “It seems we are cut from the same cloth!”

Luc and Claude smiled and gazed at each other with such affection that even the sun could not help but
notice! But the sun was not the only one to notice: the capricious North wind also saw the love between
Claude the cloud and Luc the lake and was jealous. The North wind began to blow envious gusts at
Claude “What do you mean by this talk? You belong in the sky with me! You are meant to be an
ephemeral creature of the heavens, why do you pause here so long talking to this gloomy lake?” the
wind scoffed. “You are a cloud and you must do as I say, for everyone knows that clouds live in the sky
and talk to no one but the winds! Now come away from here!” The wind roared, as he pushed the
helpless little cloud away from his beloved lake.

“I will find you again, Luc!” Claude cried as he flew out of sight.

Luc wanted to cry, but hearing the willows already weeping along his shores, he decided to remain
hopeful and resolute “I will be waiting.” He said, trying not to sob in front of the trees. From that day
on, the trees and creatures of the forest tried their best to comfort Luc. Insects and seeds made sure to
visit and tell him of their adventures in the skies. Luc's heart was warmed by their care, but still in the
empty silence of the winter nights he longed for Claude to appear; as the forest slept, Luc cried silently
to himself.

The moon saw Luc's tears and was deeply moved. At dawn, she asked the sun “Why does the round
silvery lake weep so mournfully each night?”

“Ah!” Said the sun, “It is a sad tale...” And she told the moon what had happened.

That day at sunset the moon turned to the sun and said “I have been thinking about Luc the lake all day
and about the North wind's cruel treatment of that little cloud. Surely there must be something we can
do.”

“I am weary now,” said the sun, “but while you guard this land, Moon, let us think of a plan to unite
this lake and cloud at last.”

“Very well.” Said the moon, as she began to glide across the sky.

The next day at dawn the sun and moon discussed their newly formed plan: “Agreed?” asked the moon.

“Agreed.” replied the sun. All day long the sun shone extra bright as she thought about the cleverness
of the plan and the joy it would bring to Claude and Luc.

Night fell and the moon rose in the distance. The moon spotted Claude in the skies, making his way
back to Luc, and she whispered to the South Wind to bring Claude to her. The wind obliged, and when
Claude approached, the moon told him how she and the sun had seen his plight and wished to help.
Claude was amazed and overjoyed.

The Moon continued: “Go to Luc tomorrow and hover above his waters shortly before sunset.”

“But what of the North wind?” Claude enquired, worried. “He is no less jealous now than he was last
summer!”

“Leave him to us!” the moon said, with a mysterious and triumphant gleam. “Don't worry. Sun and I
shall create a distraction. Then, when all other elements of nature hold their breath, you must dive
down to the earth and drown yourself in Luc's waters.”

Claude was amazed and fearful. “What will happen to me if I drown myself in Luc?”

“Do not fear!” said the Moon, “You and Luc have shown both love and strength. We have seen your
plight and we will grant both of your wishes, as long as you are brave and trust in our plan. Can you do
this?”

Claude was terrified, but he agreed.

The next day Claude returned to Luc. The trees and forest creatures rejoiced to see Luc reunited with
the cloud he so loved. Luc cried with joy, and a clear blue stream of tears wound its way down his face
and into the lowland forests. Claude hovered low over the lake and told him that something was about
to happen, that it was a secret plan devised by the sun and moon, and that the moon had assured him to
have faith in the plan. Luc was baffled, but before he could question, something strange began to
happen.

Up in the high heavens, the moon and sun curtsied to each other and, winking, said “Sister, shall we
dance?” In the skies and on the earth beneath, this dance created a fearful spectacle: the Moon, with her
veil of night, slowly glided in front of the Sun, obscuring her golden rays. All nature (including the
North wind) held its breath as the sun seemed to disappear.

At that moment Claude knew that what the moon had said must come to pass. Claude whispered to Luc
“Please do not fear, this is something I must do.” And, with that, he plunged headlong into Luc's watery
depths and disappeared. Luc was frightened, yet overwhelmed by the sensation of Claude dissolving
into him.

The Sun and Moon saw that the plan was complete and they finished their dance. When sunset resumed
as normal, creation resumed its usual pattern. The North Wind, realizing he had been tricked, stormed
off in an icy blast to take out his bitterness on the barren glaciers of the North.

Luc was left alone in the quiet woodland. The willows wept, for they saw how Claude had drowned
himself. Then, as the sun set and the air cooled, something unexpected began to happen: Luc's waters
began to turn into a cloud, and soon his entire surface was covered in mist. This mist soon spread to fill
all the hills and vales of the forest. At last Luc and Claude were united as one. Luc could finally travel
the woodlands, Claude could finally have a home, and neither one of them would have to be alone
again.

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