On a boat drifting in the cold waters of the Mediterranean, dozens of Middle-Eastern refugees, young and old, cling to one another, waiting for the uncertainty that haunts their future to be put to rest.
In the bitter night, young Rami takes out his fiddle and begins to play, narrating an accompanying story that drifts through the boat, wrapping frigid bodies with the comfort of hope, faith, and freedom. Rami’s fiddle tells of a young Mongolian shepherd who nurses back to health an abandoned foal. The foal becomes a white stallion rare in its beauty, might, and free soul. But as with all free and beautiful things, the white stallion soon captures the attention of the Dark Lord who rules the land, who forbids any freedom that he cannot control. As Rami plays, his fellow passengers reminisce. Nor and Mustafa remember when they met and the miracle birth of Bashar, their 6-year-old son, who is with them on the boat. Mohammad thinks of his wife, who is no longer with him; Youssef and Hassan remember their carefree childhoods, before the soldiers came. Rami’s story stands as a reminder to the passengers that freedom cannot be taken from them because it exists all around them in the wind. Measured, lyrical prose is matched by Weaver’s evocative, blue-toned illustrations, which depict sadness and fear, beauty and strength.
Lewis’ novella brings to life the unified power of hope and faith and freedom that keeps strong all those fleeing war, massacre, and hardship. (Fiction. 7-12)