The Nightingale

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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.

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.