Kiviuq was a young inuit living far in the northern lands. The landscapes he knew were made of an everlasting tapestry of snow. Kiviuq really loved to read, but he enjoyed writing even more. He liked to write all kinds of stories: stories about the falling snow of winter, of wandering polar bears and the 24 hour day of light in the warm summer. He even wrote modern versions of the ancestral myths of his people. Everyone in the village appreciated reading his stories. Through his words he would bring tears of joy and tears of pain. Kiviuq was happy to bring stories to people and to be an important part of his community.
When the Europeans arrived, they created an alphabet to write in Inuktitut, his native language. It was a very peculiar alphabet made of hooks, probably to go fishing, of toboggans to go hunting and of triangles for which Kiviuq had no idea of the use. Even if Kiviuq was a very talented writer, he had troubles at school. He would write long and beautiful texts, but would always fail his exams because of his calligraphy. His teacher was not happy with his handwriting. His triangles were always slightly tilted on the side, as if pushed by the northern winds. The teacher wanted him to write with equilateral triangles, with three sides of exactly the same length. Sadly enough, Kiviuq was not able to fulfill his teacher’s expectations. His triangles were always isosceles or scalenes, with all kinds of different sides and sizes. Kiviuq felt the different shapes of his triangles helped express emotions in his stories. For example, a very narrow triangle would express danger, while a flattened smooth triangle would express calmness and the time that lingers on. Nevertheless, none of his readers had complained about the shape of his triangles so Kiviuq kept on with this habit. Now, because of his bad marks, his teacher told him he could never go to university and become a writer. This made Kiviuq really sad.
So Kiviuq started working more and more on his triangles. He would practice for hours and hours drawing them and studying them. The more he would study triangles, the less he would write stories. People in the village started worrying because he would not enchant them with his words anymore. Kiviuq was adamant and decided to become a writer so he kept working hard on his triangles. With all this work, he started having good marks in mathematics and sciences. The better his calligraphy became, the worse his stories were. They became boring; the snow was static and the hunts brought no game. He did not worry about this because he had better marks in writing, even with his boring stories. Although less passionate about it, he really got amazing marks in mathematics and sciences.
So one day he finally went to university to become a scientist. Through his years of study, he learned everything that was to be known about geometry, especially about triangles. He then become known as one of world’s most eminent specialists in triangles which lead him to meet very interesting people all around the world and to see amazing marvels on all continents. He went to visit the great pyramids of Egypt, the Eiffel tour and the great Mont Everest’s peak. He worked with the artist Maurelius Escher for the art of tiling the plane with triangles, with the architect Ieoh Ming Pei for the construction of the pyramid in front of Le Louvre consisting of 666 triangles. He even met Dr. Sierpinski and helped him in his worked on his famous triangle constructed with an infinity of smaller triangles.
One day Kiviuq met a man named Buckminster Füller. Mr. Füller was really good with triangles as well and together they decided to construct a map of the world using triangles. After months and months of difficult labour, they finally finished the map and exposed it on a giant wall. Proudly, they spent some time admiring the result. It was a very interesting map, it placed the countries in very different places than the usual map Kiviuq knew. In particular, Kiviuq noticed the map placed the North Pole almost in the middle. Kiviuq started remembering his old land and his old friends.
Kiviuq decided to go home after all these years of work and traveling. Coming home, he felt like a stranger. He realised people were really interested in his traveling stories, but none would bring tears of joy nor tears of pain. Kiviuq missed these days when he felt he could reach people’s hearts, so he started to write stories again. In his stories, the snow was not shining like crystal under the sun, the fish tasted like nothing and the polar bears were gone. He had forgot the feeling of his own culture and lost himself. Kiviuq realised he was again really sad. One day, wandering in the village he saw some kids playing in the snow. After some hesitation, he decided to go play with them. He had forgotten the simple pleasure of playing in the snow and the pleasure of building igloos. The more time he spent in his town, the more he was rediscovering the deepness of his culture. One day, when he was ready, he decided to write a story, his own story. He was able again to make the wind dance and the northern lights shine. Moreover, he was now able to place his own culture in a world mixed with myths and sciences. The wind had a soul but as well a precise velocity. It came from and went to places Kiviuq could now describe. Finally he could describe precisely the extremely complex geometry of every single dancing snowflake. Now again, people were reading his story and snow made of tears of joy and tears of pain were to be found in his northern lands.
Félix Lambert – copyright story- 2018