The south wind tried to get to its feet, but wherever the flaxen thread tangled around its body, it couldn’t move. Furious, it pawed at the ground with its one free leg, rolling and struggling, until the end of the thread cut at Jill’s hands. When the wind found that it couldn’t break loose, it began clawing and biting at the threads, until it was able to free its right shoulder.
Not enough thread! Jill didn’t have any more, and she hadn’t been able to bind the south wind with what she had. Soon it would be free, this huge and terrible beast made of sand and air. Its struggling sent stinging blasts into her face, and Jill tried to pull her shawl over her head without letting go of the thread.
Her shawl. Jill had her shawl, the one her mother knitted for her. It was made of thread.
All of a sudden, the south wind turned on her, engulfing her in a blinding sandstorm. She could not see, she could barely breathe. She wanted to wrap her shawl around her to keep the stinging sand from her skin, but instead she blindly picked out the thread at one corner and knotted it to the strand of flax in her hand.
Jill felt rather than saw the shawl unraveling, row by row, faster and faster as the south wind howled around her. She covered her face with her hands and curled up on the ground, trying to protect her nose and mouth from the choking grains. Gradually, the wind began to slow, and the sand whipped less furiously around her, and then, at last, as the final strand of her shawl left her fingers, the wind fell still.
Jill got up. Her dress was in tatters and she felt as if she’d been clawed by a thousand angry cats, but the plain was empty. The south wind was gone.