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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234                       THE NIGHTINGALE
each other, but there 's something wanting, though I know not what!'
The real Nightingale was banished from the country and empire. The artificial bird had its place on a silken cushion close to the Emperor's bed ; all the presents it had received, gold and precious stones, were ranged about it; in title it had advanced to be the High Imperial Night-Singer, and in rank to number one on the left hand ; for the Emperor considered that side the most important on which the heart is placed, and even in an Emperor the heart is on the left side ; and the playmaster wrote a work of five-and-twenty volumes about the artificial bird ; it was very learned and very long, full of the most difficult Chinese words ; but yet all the people declared that they had read it and understood it, for fear of being considered stupid, and having their bodies trampled on.
So a whole year went by. The Emperor, the court, and all the other Chinese knew every little twitter in the artificial bird's song by heart. But just for that reason it pleased them best—they could sing with it themselves, and they did so. The street boys sang, ' Tsi-tsi-tsi-glug-glug ! ' and the Emperor himself sang it too. Yes, that was certainly famous.
But one evening, when* the artificial bird was singing its best, and the Emperor lay in bed listening to it, some­thing inside the bird said, ' Whizz !' Something cracked. c Whir-r-r!' All the wheels ran round, and then the music stopped.
The Emperor immediately sprang out of bed, and caused his body physician to be called ; but what could he do ? Then they sent for a watchmaker, and after a good deal of talking and investigation, the bird was put into something like order ; but the watchmaker said that the bird must be carefully treated, for the barrels were worn, and it would be impossible to put new ones in in such a manner that the music would go. There was a great lamentation ; only once in a year was it permitted to let the bird sing, and that was almost too much. But then the playmaster made a little speech, full of hard words, and said this was just as good as before—and so of course it was as good as before.
Now five years had gone by, and a real grief came upon