The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

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232                       THE NIGHTINGALE
power. I am rewarded enough ! ' And then it sang again with a sweet glorious voice.
' That's the most amiable coquetry I ever saw!' said the ladies who stood round about, and then they took water in their mouths to gurgle when any one spoke to them. They thought they should be nightingales too. And the lackeys and chambermaids reported that they were satisfied too ; and that was saying a good deal, for they are the most difficult to please. In short, the Nightingale achieved a real success.
It was now to remain at court, to have its own cage, with liberty to go out twice every day and once at night. Twelve servants were appointed when the Nightingale went out, each of whom had a silken string fastened to the bird's leg, and which they held very tight. There was really no pleasure in an excursion of that kind.
The whole city spoke of the wonderful bird, and when two people met, one said nothing but 'Nightin,' and the other said ' gale ' ; and then they sighed, and understood one another. Eleven pedlars' children were named after the bird, but not one of them could sing a note.
One day the Emperor received a large parcel, on which was written ' The Nightingale.'
' There we have a new book about this celebrated bird,' said the Emperor.
But it was not a book, but a little work of art, contained in a box, an artificial nightingale, which was to sing like the natural one, and was brilliantly ornamented with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. So soon as the artificial bird was wound up, he could sing one of the pieces that the real one sang, and then his tail moved up and down, and shone with silver and gold. Round his neck hung a little ribbon, and on that was written, * The Emperor of Japan's nightingale is poor compared to that of the Emperor of China.'
' That is capital! ' said they all, and he who had brought the artificial bird immediately received the title, Imperial Head-Nightingale-Bringer.
' Now they must sing together ; what a duet that will be ! '
And so they had to sing together ; but it did not sound