Day 7: The World’s Smallest Sound

The World’s Smallest Sound


Matt Zurbo


Some boys liked blue, some girls pink. Some girls liked black, some boys liked orange. Cielo was dreamy. She liked to listen to noise.

The tick of her clock at night was like the sound of an old friend.

She would imagine the barking dogs were really wolves, prowling through the snow.

When the play group lady asked her kids to choose their own treasure hunt, Oscar decided to collect photos of the best cars. Lilah was going to gather pretty leaves.

Cielo mumbled to her; “I’m going to see if I can find the world’s smallest sound.”  

At the zoo, Cielo found a TINY bird. (On an elephant’s back). But up close… it was LOUD!

Cielo didn’t bother to think of small sounds around the bully. He was like a foghorn! But his mouth released the smallest gasp when girls passed, because he was shy.

“This is a treasure hunt, indeed,” she whispered. “With twists and turns!”

Cielo started taking empty jam jars with her, to better capture noises that were so small and quick. She caught the sound of…

The first leaves to move at the start of a breeze.

The sound of a crab walking across sand.

She could have sworn she could hear an ant running across a leaf.

Her cat’s heart when it purred.

A far away owl.

The sound of a pen on paper, a page turning.

The release of a lock.

The crackle of a record player before the song started.

The more sounds she collected the more sounds she realised there were. It was like the world was full of them! Millions and millions. So little no-one noticed.

Sheep grazing. Insects fighting, a motor cooling. The most distant rumble of thunder was her favourite. The sound of it was so small, the tone so deep, she couldn’t tell if she was hearing it, or feeling its vibrations. This thing that would shake a room apart if she heard it up close!

Then there were all the human sounds: A smile breaking out. The sound of disappointment, of content, of fear.

A tear hitting the ground.

Bored people shifting their weight.

The almost-sigh her baby sister would make.

Soon, Cielo had quite the collection of the world’s smallest sounds. People would come just to listen to her open her jam jars.

But when they asked: “What’s the smallest of them all?” She would reply, with a sigh quite loud; “I haven’t found it yet.” And search some more…

Still, along the way, Cielo won her class treasure hunt. First prize was a free ticket to see a magician. She listened, in a noisy place, for the smallest sound… Then… just before the magician did his trick, the audience hushed, and she heard it… The sound of anticipation!

When Cielo went home, back to her jars, there it was again. Every single time someone asked her to open one of her small sounds, the quiet, just before the lid came off, was so small, yet… everything!

Cielo kept collecting small sounds – the whimper of a broken heart, paper falling, the moment a giant falls asleep, a dragon whispering; “I’m real…”… Her collection grew and grew, until she knew, ironically, if a bull ever charged through the garage, knocking all the lids off, breaking jam jars, there would be a very loud noise!

“What’s the smallest of them all?” the people kept asking. And Cielo would watch, and listen, for a sound so small, a silence only she could hear, just before they opened the lids, and fib: “I haven’t found it yet” once more.


The End.

10 thoughts on “Day 7: The World’s Smallest Sound

  1. This is a wonderful story and your daughter is so lucky you have grown to fatherhood and still have a loving and playful heart. Imagination like this completes the circle of life.


  2. Love this story. I’m attracted to sound too. I laughed at the end of the story. Your imagination is superb. Thanks for sharing.


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