The Nightingale

“Have you seen my dog this morning, Mr. Smith?”

“Seen him!I should think I have. He came in here, stole a leg of pork, bit me in the foot, then tripped a customer into a crate of eggs.”

“Did he really? Well, I wonder if you would mind putting this “Lost’ notice in your window.”

 

At last they came to the wood where the Nightingale was. “Hush!” said the little girl, “she is going to sing.” And sure enough, the little Nightingale began to sing. She sang so beautifully that you have never in all your life hear anything like it.

“Dear, dear,” said the courtiers, “that is very pleasant; does that little gray bird really make all that noise? She is so pale that I think she has lost her color for fear of us.”

The Chamberlain asked the little Nightingale to come and sing for the Emperor. The little Nightingale said she could sing better in her own greenwood, but she was so sweet and kind that she came with them.

That evening the palace was all trimmed with the most beautiful flowers you can imagine, and rows and rows of little silver bells, that tinkled when the wind blew in, and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of wax candles, that shone like tiny stars. In the great hall there was a gold perch for the Nightingale, beside the Emperor’s throne.

The Nightingale

“Which of your works of fiction do you consider the best?”

“My last income tax return.”

 

The Chamberlain went out and asked all the great lords and ladies and pages where the Nightingale could be found, but not one of them had ever heard of him. So the Chamberlain went back to the Emperor and said, “There is no such person.”

“The book says there is a Nightingale,” said the Emperor; “if the Nightingale is not here to sing for me this evening I will have the court trampled upon, immediately after supper.”

The Chamberlain did not want to be trampled upon, so he ran out and asked everybody in the palace about the Nightingale. At last, a little girl who worked in the kitchen to help the cook’s helper, said, “Oh, yes, I know the Nightingale very well. Every night, when I go to carry scraps from the kitchen to my mother, who lives in the wood beyond the forest, I hear the Nightingale sing.”

The Chamberlain asked the little cook-maid to take him to the Nightingale’s home, and many of the lords and ladies followed after. When they had gone a little way, they heard a cow moo.

“Ah!” said the lords and ladies, “that must be the Nightingale; what a large voice for so small a creature.”

“Oh, no,” said the little girl, “that is just a cow, mooing.”

A little farther on they heard some bullfrogs, in a swamp. “Surely that is the Nightingale,” said the courtiers; “it really sounds like church-bells!”

“Oh, no,” said the little girl, “those are bullfrogs, croaking.”