The Wind and the Sun

The wind and the sun had a dispute about which of them was the stronger. And, a traveler passed along the road wrapped in his cloak. The wind and the sun agreed that one was the stronger who could strip the traveler of his cloak. Who is the stronger? Let's see the fable in ASL.

English translation

The wind and the sun both had a dispute about which of them was the stronger. Each of them believed to be the stronger. As they were disputing, they noticed a traveler who passed along the road, wearing his cloak.

"Let's see," said the sun, "who is the stronger that can strip the man of his cloak. Agree?"

"Very well," eagerly agreed the wind, "definitely."

The sun offered the wind to be the first. The sun stood behind the clouds. The wind got himself prepared and sent a gust of wind towards the man. The man's cloak was about to fall off. As the wind blasted another gust of wind, the man quickly grabbed the cloak and held it tightly around him.

The wind blasted a series of gusts of winds, stronger and stronger. The harder the wind blew, the tighter the man held the cloak to him. The wind eventually stopped, giving up. "Well, now it's your turn, Sun," the wind offered.

The sun came out of the clouds, looking around and getting ready. It began to shine. It got hotter and hotter, beaming and beaming. The man felt hot and sweaty. He pulled off his cloak effortlessly.

The wind congratulated the sun, "You are the stronger."

ASL storytelling
Illustration by Harrison Weir, John Tenniel, Ernest Griset, et.al., Aesop's Fables, 1881. Published by WM. L. Allison, New York.

ASL storytelling
Illustration by Harrison Weir, John Tenniel, Ernest Griset, et.al., Aesop's Fables, 1881. Published by WM. L. Allison, New York.

Body and gaze shifting

Notice that the locations of the sun and the wind are consistent throughout the fable. The narrator moves her body to the left and to the right to represent who says or does something. In in that location, the narrator also sometimes takes on the characteristic traits and/or emotions of the character.

Direct address is also used in this fable through body/gaze shifting. Direct address is what the character says in quotes. For example:

"Let's see," said the sun, "who is the stronger that can strip the man of his cloak. Agree?"

"Very well," eagerly agreed the wind, "definitely."

Gloss: [ix] wind [ix] sun where [ix] represents "indexing" in specific locations.

This part is an example of how a determiner (e.g. the, this, etc) in ASL is used. Linguistic researchers have studied determiners in ASL and suggested that ASL has its type of determiners. Pointing in the example of this video suggests an usage of the determiner (an equivalent to the in English).

Following the phrase above, the narrator uses both hands me-me which indicates that the left hand represents the sun and the other indicates the wind. The body/gaze shifting also functions as the "direct address" in the following sense:

The sun claimed, "me!" The wind argued, "It's me!" They tugged.

This video clip shows an example of the subject-object agreement. The sun and the wind both noticed the man walking. Every time the narrator refers to the man, she uses the same space in the lower, left space (from the signer's perspective). She signed the noun man before she could use the classifier (a type of pronoun) for the "man" as illustrated below.

This handshape is a classifier for the "man". It functions as a pronoun that she can uses it again and again like the English pronoun "he" again and again. Not only it functions as a pronoun, it also acts as a classifier predicate, containing a pronoun-verb phrase. For example, "he walks along..."

Viewpoints

If you would like to submit your view or interpretation, email through the link in the footer below.

"Gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail." -- The Aesop for Children

Related Posts

Also see The Lamp/a>: a fable.

These are some ASL lessons, tutorials, and tips that ASL students and language enthusiasts can explore and learn some ASL on their own relaxing pace.

Seeking some challenges? Try some stories, fables, and others in ASL storytelling and poetry. Study a complex system of subtle eye gazes, role-shifting, classifiers, sentence structures, and other linguistic features as well as poetics.