The Chinese Nightingale
There was once an emperor in China who lived in a porcelain palace. The palace garden was the biggest and most beautiful in the world. A nightingale, which sang so beautifully, lived in the garden.
One morning the Chinese emperor received a letter from the emperor of Japan. The Japanese emperor had heard about the nightingale and wanted to hear his sweet song for himself. The emperor called for his marshal in chief and said, “Have the nightingale sing for me this evening”. The marshal in chief knew nothing about the nightingale and asked all of the castle’s residents where it lived. “I know,” said a maidservant. Together they went in search of the bird. The emperor was deeply moved by the nightingale’s song that evening. “Sweet nightingale, ask me any favour and you shall have it,” he said. The nightingale replied, “I have seen tears in your eyes. There is no greater reward imaginable for a singer.”
That same day the nightingale was appointed Chief Imperial Nightstand Singer. He stayed at the palace and lived in a golden cage. He missed his freedom but treasured the joy and happiness he brought to the emperor. One day the Chinese emperor received a gift from the Japanese emperor. It was another beautiful bird but a mechanical one, instead of a real one. The Chinese emperor was very pleased with it. This bird sang even more beautifully than the real one. The emperor listened to the mechanical bird more and more often, which made the real nightingale very sad. He flew away, back to the lovely garden and his freedom. Would the nightingale ever return?