One night, when King Turtle was yet Prince Turtle, the prince woke from his sleep and ventured to the surface. The wind that began as a whisper during the day had turned to a shout in the moonlight, and with it came a faint whistle hidden just beyond hearing.
The prince listened intently, wondering where the whistle was coming from. Could it be the sound of the steel snakes? No, he thought, the steel snakes did not run this late into the night.
Could it be the swings dancing alone with no anxious children atop? No, he thought, the swings sing a different tune. And besides, he continued, the swings sing to the left, while this sound is coming from the right.
Then the prince saw an owl perched low above the water’s surface to his right.
“Owl,” he said. “Could you tell me where the whistle on the wind comes from?”
The owl cocked his head around in a lazy circle until he heard the whistle.
“It is the concrete forests of men singing in the night,” he answered.
“No,” said a raccoon taking a mid-night drink from the water’s edge. “I’ve heard the whistle even where the forests of men do not grow. It is the forest of the mother herself whistling.”
“No, it can’t be” said a crow sleepily from another tree, “for I’ve heard the whistling even in the fields where no forest grows. It is the whistling of the grass you hear.”
“No, no,” said a wandering carp. “It can’t be the grass, for I’ve heard this whistle even in winter when no grass grows.” The carp, however, offered no alternative.
The owl, the raccoon, the crow, the carp, and the prince all thought silently and listened to the whistle once again. Soon, the crow and the owl turned away into sleep, the raccoon flicked his whiskers and crept back into the forest, and the carp swam silently away. The prince listened to the whistling a minute more before sinking back below the surface.
The next day, the prince went to his father, the king, and asked him about the whistle in the wind.
“What do you think it is?” asked the king.
“Well,” began the prince. “I asked an owl perched low on a branch. He thought it was the forests of men whistling in the wind.”
The king, knowing there was more to come, nodded his son on.
“Then a thirsty raccoon said it was the forest of the mother,” continued the prince. “But a sleepy crow said it was the grass, but a wandering carp said the wind whistles even in winter when no grass grows.”
“And what do you think, my son?” asked the kind king.
“I think the whistling wind is the wind itself,” said the prince shyly. “Because the wind is a traveller, and travellers get lonely sometimes on their long journeys.”
“Oh?” said the king.
“And what does a lonely traveller do to pass the time on a long journey?”
The prince didn’t wait for a reply: “He whistles!”
At this the king laughed loud and long, and agreed with his son whole-heartedly, for no other reason could there possibly be.