Piret Raud. “Trööömmmpffff, or Eli’s voice”

Reading sample

On the sandy shore of a big sea lived a bird, who had no voice. That bird’s name was Eli.

“Everything else has a voice,” Eli thought sadly. “The trees can rustle. The sea can crash. Even the rain sings when it falls.”

“I’m the only one who’s mute.”

Eli could feel tears welling up in her eyes—that’s how bad it felt to be voiceless.

One morning, Eli found a strange object that the waves had washed up onto the beach.

It was a horn! When Eli blew into one end of it, it made no sound at all—just like Eli.

But when she blew into the other end, it rang out Trööömmmpffff!

Eli was as happy as a clam. All of a sudden, she was able to make a sound! The voice wasn’t exactly a very pretty one, but it was a voice all the same!

News of Eli’s voice quickly spread across land and sea. Creatures came from all around to hear Eli toot, and the other birds were even a little jealous that her voice had such an interesting ring to it.


Trööömmmpffff!” Eli blew. “Trööömmmpffff! Trööömmmpffff!” And everyone surrounding her clapped wildly.

Only Albert the fish spluttered angrily:

“That’s not your horn at all! That’s Duke Junior’s horn, and I might add that he is very sad he’s lost his horn. Duke Junior just isn’t himself anymore without it! He’s completely incomplete!”

Eli felt her heart sink to her feet. Just think—Trööömmmpffff! wasn’t her voice at all, but was someone else’s!

She picked the horn up in her beak and went looking for Duke Junior.

Eli looked high in the sky and deep in the sea.

She searched for several days and several nights.

Finally, she found him on a lone island in the middle of the ocean.

Duke Junior truly did look down in the dumps and incomplete.

Yet, his face lit up as soon as he saw the horn.

He cautiously took the instrument from Eli’s beak…

…and blew.

To Eli’s great surprise, the noise that Duke Junior made with the horn wasn’t Trööömmmpffff, but was MUSIC! The sounds that came out were wondrous and contained everything: all the things Eli thought and felt.

Eli listened, and suddenly, she wasn’t the least bit sad she couldn’t make sounds on her own.

The fact that Duke Junior’s music existed was more than enough for her.


Translated by Adam Cullen