Home » Flash fiction » HE WAS A WHISTLING WONDER



This is a response to a Flash Fiction prompt from ‘Putting My Feet In the Dirt’, Writing Prompts hosted by ‘M’.
Which can be found by following the link below..


by John Yeo

  In July 2015, Margaret and I visited La Gomera, a small island in the Canary Islands. This tiny island is extremely mountainous with narrow winding roads leading from valley to valley. The journey from one small village to another could take hours along the narrow, winding roads. 

 In the days before mobile phones arrived, the quickest and most reliable form of communication between the rugged valleys would be a whistling language. This is a historical form of communication the early settlers developed, to pass messages from one high ravine to another. Sadly redundant, in these days of mobile phones, the authorities are trying to preserve this whistling language, through compulsory lessons at school

   Pedro Hernandez was an expert whistler and managed to communicate with the surrounding villages by using this unique whistling language. This was similar to the famous jungle drumbeat form of communication, but this was developed by using the power of breath and the human lips and lungs. Given that whistles can travel much further than normal speech – as far as 8km (5 miles) in open conditions – they are most commonly found in the mountains, where they help shepherds and farmers to pass messages down the valleys. 

  One day a lorry had collided with a car and pushed the car off the road into a deep ravine.

Pedro raised the alarm by whistling the recognised SOS whistle. This was picked up by a farmer in the next valley and passed on to the nearest rescue centre and a rescue helicopter was soon on the way.

Pedro’s whistling abilities were in demand when he was recruited to pass them on to the children in the village schools.

© Written by John Yeo


  1. I had no idea whistling (done properly) can travel so far. In a mountainous island it probably was the best form of long distance communication!

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