Kirri scurried to the side of the platform on the great world tree where her family lived and held onto the railings with her hands and tail.
She sniffed the breeze again. The clouds were coming.
The clouds were fun. The clouds told her stories and she told them stories back.
The white mist, a thin one this one, flowed across the platform on the breeze. The eddy around Kirri stayed long enough to whisper to her of: oceans and seabirds that only perched to breed, lay eggs and rear their chicks; gold and blue butterflies dancing far above over the topmost canopy of the world tree; and a place in the long-ago growing only grass and flowers. In return Kirri told the cloud about the ripe numcha fruit she’d had at lunch and the renyi vine being trained over her sleeping nest. Then the cloud was gone, carried on by the breeze.
Kirri would tell the others what she’d heard when they all sat down to eat their evening meal. Mama, Grandmama and Greatgrandmama all said it was important to listen to what the clouds told you while you could still hear them and to share what they said with others.
Mama told her at bedtime the things the clouds had told her when she was little.
Mama told her too how once, in the long-ago, there’d been no world tree covering the land and there’d been a different people in the world. How when the world tree began to grow those people realised they had to go away. How some of them had helped Kirri’s kind become people when they were gone, and how others couldn’t bear to go completely but had left parts of themselves behind, to wander with the clouds and carry stories to the children.