The Nightingale

“Papa, what’s a ‘liberal Republican’?”

“Wait, son, I’ll look it up.”

“But papa, that book you are consulting is Bullfinch’s Mythology.”

“I know, son, I know.”


A long, long time ago, as long ago as when there were fairies, there lived an emperor in China, who had a most beautiful palace, all made of crystal. Outside the palace, was the loveliest garden in the whole world, and farther away was a forest where the trees were taller than any other trees in the world, and farther away, still, was a deep wood. And in this wood lived a little Nightingale. The Nightingale sang so beautifully that everybody who heard her remembered her song better than anything else that he had heard or saw. People came from all over the world to see the crystal palace and the wonderful garden and the great forest, but when they went home and wrote books about these things they always wrote, “But the Nightingale is the best of all.”

At last is happened that the Emperor came upon a book which said this, and he at once sent for his Chamberlain.

“Who is this Nightingale?” said the Emperor. “Why have I never heard him sing?”

The Chamberlain, who was a very important person said, “There cannot be any such person; I have never heard his name.”

“The book says there is a Nightingale,” said the Emperor. “I command that the Nightingale be brought here to sing for me this evening.”