The Nightingale

A mother was taking her young son for a ride in the car. On their way home, the lad asked: “Mother, where are all the infernal idiots?”

“Why, son,” she replied, “they only happen to be on the highway when your father is driving.”

 

When the Emperor woke up, he felt a terrible weight on his chest. He opened his eyes, and there was Death, sitting on his heart. Death had put on the Emperors’s gold crown, and he had the gold scepter in one hand, and the silken banner in the other; and he looked at the Emperor with his great hollow eyes. The room was full of shadows, and the shadows were full of faces. Everywhere the Emperor looked, they were face. Some ere very, very ugly, and some were sweet and lovely; they were all the things the Emperor had done in his life, good and bad. And as he looked at them they began to whisper. They whispered, “Do you remember this?” “Do you remember that?” The Emperor remembered so much that he cried out loud, “Oh, bring the great drum! Make music, so that I may not hear these dreadful whispers!” But there was nobody there to bring the drum.

Then the Emperor cried, “You little gold nightingale, can you not sing something for me? I have given you gifts of gold and jewels, and kept you always by my side; will you not help me now?” But there was nobody to wind the little gold nightingale up, ad of course it could not sing.