Silver Skate Festival

Presented by Northgate Industries Ltd.

Feb 7-17, 2025 • Laurier Park

Edmonton's longest running winter festival!

The Wind and Sleep

January 3, 2024

By Amena Shehab 


In a land where the Wind and Sleep played their games under the vast expanse of the sky, a dispute arose. They debated endlessly about which was the stronger force, each boasting of their abilities.

One day, as their quarrel raged on, their attention was drawn to a scene that would forever alter their perceptions. In the heart of a refugee camp, nestled beside a humble tent, sat a little girl. She clutched a cloth doll in her tiny hand, speaking softly to it, her eyes filled with a quiet determination.

Seeing this, Wind proposed a wager to Sleep, an opportunity to settle their dispute. “Let us determine our strength by a simple test,” Wind suggested. “The one who can make that girl release her grasp on the doll shall be declared the mightier.”

With a gust of confidence, Sleep accepted the challenge on two conditions: “The first condition is not to cause any harm to the girl or the camp properties, and the second is the competition’s duration is only one minute, after that whoever gets the doll is considered the winner.”

Sleep asked Wind to go first. Arrogantly, the Wind blew lightly seeking to pry the doll from the girl’s fingers, which made the girl hold her doll tightly. The wind felt embarrassed, so it summoned all its power, unleashing a ferocious gale that roared through the camp. But, strangely, the more Wind howled and blustered, the tighter the girl clung to her treasured possession. Wind’s relentless efforts continued, but the girl was resolute, holding on as if her very life depended on it. 

After the minute passed, the Wind had no choice but to admit that it could not accomplish what it had set out to do. But Wind still questioned Sleep’s claim to superiority.

Now it was Sleep’s turn. The ethereal force followed the girl into the comforting warmth of her tent. She settled onto a soft, inviting mattress, and Sleep gently danced around her. It caressed her eyelids, combed her hair and coaxed her to surrender to the soothing embrace of slumber.

It took only forty-five seconds, the girl succumbed to Sleep’s gentle allure. Her grip on the doll loosened, and it slipped from her fingers, tumbling to the floor. 

Humbled by the outcome, Wind watched as Sleep held sway over the girl’s dreams, realizing that strength wasn’t always measured by force but sometimes by the gentle embrace of serenity. And so, in the land where the Wind and Sleep waged their endless debates, a new understanding of power was born.

اللغة العربية

الريح والنوم

أمينة شهاب

في أرض حيث لعب الريح والنوم ألعابهم تحت مساحة واسعة من السماء نشأ نزاع، لقد ناقشوا إلى ما لا نهاية حول أي منهم كان القوة الأقوى، وكل منهم يتباهى بقدرات.

في أحد الأيام، مع احتدام الشجار بينهما، انجذب انتباههما إلى مشهد من قلب مخيم للاجئين. بجوار خيمة متواضعة، جلست فتاة صغيرة كانت تحمل دمية من قماش في يدها الصغيرة، وتتحدث إليها بهدوء ولطف

عند رؤية ذلك، عرض النوم رهانًا على الريح، وهي فرصة لتسوية نزاعهما  اقترح النوم أن يخوض الاثنان اختبارا بسيطا من يجعل الفتاة تتحرر من قبضتها  الدمية، سيُعلن أنه الأقوى.

وبثقة كبيرة، قبلت الريح التحدي وتطوعت بالذهاب أولاً. استجمعت كل قوتها، وأطلقت العنان لعاصفة قوية، سعيًا لانتزاع الدمية من أصابع الفتاة، ولكن ما حدث أنه كلما زاد عواء الريح وتهديدها، كلما تشبثت الفتاة بلعبتها أكثر. استمرت جهود الرياح الحثيثة، لكن الفتاة كانت حازمة، رافضة التخلي عن لعبتها العزيزة.

ومع جنون الريح تغير الطقس وأصبح الجو باردًا، فشعرت الفتاة أن البقاء خارج الخيمة لم يعد محتملًا. انسحبت إلى الداخل بحثًا عن ملجأ من هجوم الريح المستمر. اعترفت الريح، المهزومة والحائرة، بأنها لم تستطيع إنجاز ما شرعت في القيام به، وشككت في ادعاء النوم بالتفوق.

الآن جاء دور النوم. تبعت القوة الأثيرية الفتاة إلى دفء خيمتها المريح. استقرت على مرتبة ناعمة وجذابة، وبدأ النوم يرقص حولها. كان يداعب جفنيها، ويقنعهما بالاستسلام لأحضانه الهادئة.

وما هي إلا ثوان حتى استسلمت الفتاة لجاذبية النوم اللطيفة. خففت قبضتها على الدمية فانزلقت من أصابعها وسقطت على الأرض.

راقبت الرياح النوم الذي يسيطر على أحلام الفتاة، فأدركت أن القوة لا تقاس دائمًا بالقوة. فاللطف والاحتضان لهما مفعول أكبر من الإكراه.  

About the writer

Amena Shehab

Amena Shehab came to Canada alone in 2013 with three children under 14, she started writing plays about her experience as an Arab woman experiencing conflict.

She made her Canadian stage debut in English four years later, playing Layal, in The Maggie Tree’s revival of Nine Parts of Desire. Their culturally-nuanced all-female ensemble piece about the Iraq wars was very well received.

Her performance in Hagar, about a mother fleeing the Syrian war, was acclaimed during its two runs in Edmonton. It depicted a Syrian refugee experience and sparked impassioned reactions and debate among audiences. She was nominated for an Elizabeth Sterling Award 2019 for Outstanding Fringe Performance – Drama. The Toronto Arts Council supported Amena to perform Hagar in Toronto in November 2023, following its success in Edmonton.

Amena has also embodied Sammar in F.O.B. and Nahla in Harun for the Edmonton Fringe. Other credits include E-Day (The Serial Collective), Rehearsal (Syrian Heritage Association), All That Binds Us (Azimuth Theatre), Here There Be Night (Workshop West) and From The Amazonamachy (Tiger Heart’s Collective).
She has led workshops in Arabic to introduce newcomers to the art world and taught playwriting to high school students as part of Workshop West’s Writes of Passage since 2019.

She is also the coordinator of The Shoe Project in Edmonton (Workshop West and Skirts-A-Fire), which works with newcomer women to voice their personal experiences.

She received the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards: Creative Encouragement Award in September 2023.

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