King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, as everyone knows: a wise judge and a wise ruler of his people, who wrote the poetry of the Song of Songs and even, they say, unlocked mystical powers that allowed him to travel on a flying carpet. King Solomon also used his wisdom to bring peace and prosperity to his kingdom, by making it a hub of trade routes which brought spices, medicine, jewels and other wonders from distant lands. But always Solomon thirsted for further knowledge, especially for the good and welfare of his people. So he adopted a curious habit. Occasionally he would disguise himself in the tattered clothes of a traveler and walk around the Jerusalem marketplace, unrecognized, to hear and see his people firsthand.

On one such outing, as King Solomon walked unnoticed, he was suddenly startled by an old man who appeared at the edge of the market. “Shalom aleichem, my King,” the old man said.

King Solomon was astonished. “How did you know it was me?”

“I heard the wind whispering. The wind told me it was you,” came the reply.

King Solomon was intrigued. “Will you teach me the language of the wind?” he asked. The two began to meet for lessons, until Solomon at last could understand the mysterious language of the wind, which spoke across time, in many tongues and tones. The wind revealed the secrets of every contour of his kingdom, and the king listened closely. Then one day, the wind spoke a terrible prophecy: That in five years’ time, a great sandstorm would arise, burying the roads that served as King Solomon’s mighty trade routes. The kingdom would be sealed off.

“My people will starve! What can I do?” the King asked the wind.

The wind whispered back: “Turn to the waters, where our gusts will be favorable.”

Hurrying back to the palace, King Solomon called for the construction of new, faster ships and of large ports on the shores of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. By the time the sandstorm arrived, those ports were bustling with trade by sea. And when the whipping winds finally passed, King Solomon stood out on his parapet to witness his people emerging safely from their fortified homes all over his sand-covered lands. He gazed towards the horizon, where his new fleet sped through open waters, filled with goods that would soon fill the marketplace again, and offered a prayer of thanks.

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