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An east wind is a wind that originates in the east and blows west. In Greek mythology, Eurus, the east wind, was the only wind not associated with any of the three Greek seasons, and is the only one of these four Anemoi not mentioned in Hesiod's Theogony or in the Orphic Hymns.
In Native American Iroquois culture, the east wind is said to be brought by the Moose, whose breath blows the grey mist and sends down cold rains upon the earth.
Some 17 references to East Wind exist in the Authorized King James Version of the English Old Testament. In chapter 41 of Genesis, the pharaoh's dream, that is interpreted by Joseph, describes seven ears of corn blasted by the east wind. In chapters 10 and 14 of Exodus, the east wind is summoned by Moses to bring the locusts that plague Egypt and to part the Red Sea so that the Children of Israel can escape pharaoh's armies. Several other references exist, most associating the east wind with destruction. Often this destruction is of the wicked by God.
In George MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind (serialized beginning in 1868 and published in book form in 1871), on the other hand, the East Wind is described as more mischievous than strictly evil; the North Wind comments, "...[O]ne does not exactly know how much to believe of what she says, for she is very naughty sometimes..."
Much in the same way, the East Wind symbolizes change in P. L. Travers' Mary Poppins series (published 1934–1988). Poppins arrives at the Banks' house carried by the East Wind, but warns the children that she will only stay until the wind changes. At the end of the book, the West Wind carries her away.
|“||"There's an east wind coming, Watson."
"I think not, Holmes. It is very warm."
"Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There's an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared."
In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (written in stages between 1937 and 1949), the East Wind, like most other things dealing with the east, is viewed as a thing of evil. In Book III (which appears in The Two Towers), after Aragorn and Legolas have sung a lament for Boromir involving invocations of the other three winds, the following dialogue takes place:
|“||"You left the East Wind to me," said Gimli, "but I will say naught of it."
"That is as it should be," said Aragorn. "In Minas Tirith they endure the East Wind, but they do not ask it for tidings. ..."
An east wind is referred in Bleak House by Charles Dickens, first published serially between 1852–1853. The character Mr Jarndyce uses it several times as a harbinger of unfavourable events. For example,
|“||"My dear Rick," said Mr. Jarndyce, poking the fire, "I'll take an oath it's either in the east or going to be. I am always conscious of an uncomfortable sensation now and then when the wind is blowing in the east."||”|
|“||Is it Nineveh
and are you Jonah
in the sweltering east wind of your wishes?"
- Gen. 41:6, 23, 27; Ex. 10:13; 14:21; Job 15:2; 27:21; 38:24; Ps. 48:7; 78:26; Isa. 27:8; Jer. 18:17; Ezek. 17:10; 19:12; 27:26; Hosea 12:1; 13:15; Jonah 4:8; Hab. 1:9