The Nightingale

The famous epitaph on Sir John Strange compliments him at the expense of the whole legal profession:

Here lies an honest lawyer, and that is Strange.


At last, one day, there came a little package to the Emperor, on the outside of which was written, “The Nightingale.” Inside was an artificial bird, something like a Nightingale, only it was made of gold, and silver, and rubies, and emeralds, and diamonds. When it was wound up it played a waltz tune, and as it played it moved its little tail up and down. Everybody in the court was filled with delight at the music of the new nightingale. They made it sing that same tune thirty-three times, and still they had not had enough. They would have made it sing to tune thirty-four times, but the Emperor said, “I should like to hear the Nightingale sing, now.”

But when they looked about for the real Nightingale, they could not find her anywhere! She had taken the chance, while everybody was listening to the waltz tunes, to fly away through the window to her own greenwood.

“What a very ungrateful bird!” said the lords and ladies. “But it does not matter; the new nightingale is just as good.”

So the artificial nightingale was given the real Nightingale’s little gold perch, and every night the Emperor wound her up, and she sang waltz tunes to him. The people in the court liked her even better than the old Nightingale, because they could whistle her tunes,–which you can’t do with the real nightingales.

The Nightingale

New York restaurant advertises: “Pies like mother use to make before she took to bridge and cigarettes.”


When all the people were there, the Emperor asked the Nightingale to sing. Then the little gray Nightingale filled her throat full and sang. And, my dears, she sang so beautifully that the Emperor’s eyes filed up with tears! So he asked her to sing again, and this time she sang so marvelous that the tears came out of his eyes and ran down his cheek. That was a great success. They asked the little Nightingale to sing, over and over again, and when they had listened enough the Emperor said that she should be made “Singer in Chief to the Court.” She was to haveĀ  a golden perch near the Emperor’s bed, and a little gold cage, and was to be allowed to go out twice every day. But there were twelve servants appointed to wait on her, and those twelve servants went with her every time she went out, and each of the twelve servants had hold of the end of a silken string which was tied to the little Nightingale’s leg! It was not so very much fun to go out that way!

For a long, long time the Nightinggale sang every evening to the Emperor and his court, and they liked her so much that the ladies all tried to sound like her; they used to put water in their mouths and then make little sounds like this: glu-glu-glug. And when the courtiers met each other in the halls, one would say “Night,” and the other would say “ingale,” and that was conversation.