Still with Faramir:)
It was quiet in the gardens, but for the soft sounds of birds chirping and the occasional dried leaf fluttering down to the red and golden carpet below. There were few people outside; an old man on a stone bench under the shade of a large tree, with a pipe in his hands and a boy sitting by a disused birdbath in the shrubbery.
“Plrrfft!” Faramir said loudly, scaring away the birds roosting on the bush near him, and startling the old man enough to nearly drop his pipe.
Faramir sighed impatiently as he pulled his fingers out of his mouth, “How ever does he do it?”
“How does who do what?”
Faramir looked up startled, and sprang to his feet uncertainly when he saw Mithrandir standing at the steps leading down to the shrubbery. The old man walked down the steps and Faramir gazed at him curiously, much as he had the previous day when he had arrived in Minas Tirith to meet his father. He moved briskly for one of his age, and he carried a staff in his hands.
Faramir felt a little awkward, not having spoken to him before, for the old wizard, as some of his father’s councillors had called him, had seemed quite busy in an intense discussion with Denethor.
“Well, child,” Mithrandir said in an amused tone, “Whatever was that noise you were making? I almost thought I’d see a herd of oliphaunts charging down on me.”
A herd of oliphaunts, Faramir thought would be much louder, and he blurted out as much, “Father said it sounded like a herd of oliphaunts when Boromir was learning to play the lute,” he said doubtfully, “Was I as loud as that?”
“No,” Mithrandir told him, and the skin near his eyes crinkled up some more, making him look much nicer, “Forgive me then. It has been many years since I last saw a herd of oliphaunts.”
“You have seen oliphaunts?” The awkwardness that Faramir felt vanished in an instant.
“Yes,” again the eyes crinkled up, “And yes, I’ll tell you all about them. If you tell me what it is you were trying to do, scaring away all the birds like that?”
“I was trying to sound a birdcall, sir, like Boromir does. When he does that, then the birds come and sit on his hand and let him feed them,” he said, “I’d like to do that too.”
“Ask him how he does it,” Mithrandir suggested.
“Yes, I suppose I should,” Faramir said a little doubtfully.
The wizard looked at him silently for a moment, and Faramir found himself gazing back at the wrinkled face.
“If you like I can show you how I do birdcalls,” Mithrandir offered.
“You can?” Faramir said, a little excitedly, before his shyness from the previous night returned.
“I mean would you, sir? Please, if you have the time?” he said after a pause, hoping he sounded politer now.
“I certainly would,” the wizard said smiling, “And it will not take very long.”
It took them a few hours. By the time they were done, Faramir had learn not only just how to place his fingers and to blow softly through them, but also how to make the sounds vary by moving his finger a little this way for a robin’s call or a little that way to sound like the small yellow birds hopping on the birdbath. And Mithrandir even showed him how he could place a cherry seed between his teeth and let out a completely different sound.
He was a fine lad, Mithrandir would say later to any who would listen, polite, kind and a little shy. And he displayed none of the wariness mixed with exasperation that his father or even some of the hobbits in the shire were so wont to when they saw the wizard. It was a refreshing change.
“Thank you,” Faramir said, as they left the shrubbery together. He was due to go for his archery practise. “I didn’t want to ask Boromir because father says he is readying to join his troop next week, and so I mustn’t disturb him with frivolous matters. He is always with the arms masters or with father. It was very kind of you to help me.”
“I was most happy to help,” Mithrandir said solemnly, "But you needn't worry. It is not so frivolous after all. I hear the rangers in the woods use birdsongs to speak to each other when they fear their enemies are eavesdropping."
“But tell me,” he asked as they neared the citadel buildings, “Has Boromir learned how to play the lute yet?”
“Oh yes,” Faramir said enthusiastically, “He plays very well.”
He was also a most loyal brother, the wizard realised, when he did get to hear Boromir play the lute a few days later.