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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THE NIGHTINGALE                      233
very well, for the real Nightingale sang in its own way, and the artificial bird sang waltzes. •**
' That's not his fault,' said the playmaster ; * he 's quite perfect, and very much in my style.'
Now the artificial bird was to sing alone. He had just as much success as the real one, and then it was much handsomer to look at—it shone like bracelets and breast­pins.
Three and thirty times over did it sing the same piece, and yet was not tired. The people would gladly have heard it again, but the Emperor said that the living Nightingale ought to sing something now. But where was it ? No one had noticed that it had flown away out of the open window, back to the green wood.
1 But what in all the world is this ? ' said the Emperor.
And all the courtiers abused the Nightingale, and declared that it was a very ungrateful creature.
1 We have the best bird, after all,' said they.
And so the artificial bird had to sing again, and that was the thirty-fourth time that they listened to the same piece. For all that they did not know it quite by heart, for it was so very difficult. And the playmaster praised the bird particularly ; yes, he declared that it was better than a nightingale, not only with regard to its plumage and the many beautiful diamonds, but inside as well.
' For you see, ladies and gentlemen, and above all, your Imperial Majesty, with a real nightingale one can never calculate what is coming, but in this artificial bird every­thing is settled. One can explain it; one can open it and make people understand where the waltzes come from, how they go, and how one follows up another.'
1 Those are quite our own ideas,' they all said.
And the speaker received permission to show the bird to the people on the next Sunday. The people were to hear it sing too, the Emperor commanded; and they did hear it, and were as much pleased as if they had all got tipsy upon tea, for that '& quite the Chinese fashion; and they all said,' Oh ! ' and held up their forefingers and nodded. But the poor fisherman who had heard the real Nightingale, said,
' It sounds pretty enough, and the melodies resemble