Back to: West Bengal Board Class 8th English Guide and Notes
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‘The Wind Cap’ is a short story written by Jane Hyatt Yolen. It is a fantastical story of a boy named Jon who wished to become a sailor and see the sea. An encounter with a fairy forms the crux of the story.
About the Author:
Jane Hyatt Yolen (1939-) is a prominent American author. Her books are of the genre science fiction and fantasy predominantly. She also wrote children’s literature. Famous works of her include ‘The Holocaust Novella’ and ‘The Devil’s Arithmetic’.
The theme of the story revolves around the fantastical adventure. Jon embarks on an adventure through the aid of a magical creature- the fairy man. This thus proved to be his way of fulfilling his dream.
The Fairy Man:
The story beings with Jon, a young boy, wishing to be a sailor when he grows up. His mouther discourages this idea, being that he was a farmer’s son. Thus, he does as his mother wishes, working with the plough. One day, he finds a green fairy man accidentally as he was ploughing, thinking that it was a turtle and putting it on his head to keep it safe. The turtle that turned out to be a fairy, asks him for a wish to grant. Even though Jon doesn’t reveal his desire to see the sea, the fairy man finds it out.
A Cap Full Of Wind:
The fairy man grants him a cap full of find as a sailor would have, since Jon saved his life by wearing him as a cap. He gives it with a warning that no human hand will be able to take it off once worn. Having said that, he disappears. Not heeding to his mother’s words this time, Jon leaves for the sea after requesting a captain, his cap in head. Since he could not take it off and summon winds, he became the captain’s ‘prized’ sailor. He sailed for a year and a day before his desire to see land arose.
Despite his pleas, the captain wouldn’t let him. One day, he fell asleep, offshore from his farm. In his sleep, he moved unconsciously, making his cap turn and causing unexpected storms to arise. When attempts to remove the cap failed, the captain throws him into the sea angrily. Then, the cap came off somehow. Jon runs back to home with the cap following him, whereby he hides it in a place where the fairy man could find it and take it back. From then on, he remained half of the year on the shore and half on the sea, earning the name ‘Captain Turtle’ one day when he owned a ship himself.
This is a story that weaves fantasy into reality to express its idea. Here, Jon is able to pursue his dream through magic, something people often wish themselves. However, after actually going after his dream, he makes it his career, without the help of magic, symbolically stating how anyone could achieve their dream if they went after it and worked hard.