In a large, airy castle on the borders of a country far away, lived the King of the Winds with his four children, North Wind, South Wind, East Wind, and West Wind. They were a happy family, for the four children were always having fun with the old Wind King.
North Wind, however, was a boisterous fellow, always causing disorder even in their play. One summer day North Wind said that he was going out of the castle for a frolic. “Go,” called out the King, “but be careful, North Wind, what you do. Your pranks are all very well while you are in the castle here, but out in the world they may do great harm.”
“Woo—oo—oo——,” was all the King heard in answer, and away blustered North Wind out of the castle to the garden near by. The roses and lilies were just in bloom, and the ripe peaches hung on the trees ready to be picked.
“Woo—oo—oo——,” cried the North Wind in his loudest voice, and in a moment the rose petals were scattered all over the ground, the lilies were broken from their stems, and the ripe peaches dropped down right into the mud.
In the fields he caused even greater damage. He broke the wheat stems, threw the unripe apples about. He tore the leaves from their branches and tossed them about in the air in all directions. One old tree he completely uprooted. The people could stand it no longer. They went to the King of the Winds, who, in his castle had control over the coming and going of all the Winds, and told him what the wicked North Wind had done and how the garden and fields had suffered from the misery he had caused them.
“I will summon North Wind,” said his father. “He shall answer for all this.”
When North Wind appeared, the King repeated what the people had said. “Is this true, North Wind?” he asked. North Wind could not deny it, for the devastated garden and fields lay before every one’s eyes.
“Why did you do it?” asked the King.
“Oh,” answered North Wind, “I didn’t mean it wickedly. I wanted to play with the roses and the lilies and the peaches—and all the rest. I didn’t think I would do them any harm.”
“I see,” said the King. “If you are such a clumsy fellow, then I do not dare to let you out for a frolic again. I must keep you a prisoner in the castle the whole summer. In the winter, when there are no more flowers and fruit, you may go out and be as boisterous as you like. I see you are fit only for the time of ice and snow and not for flowers and fruit.”