The YELLOW FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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THE NIGHTINGALE
2S7
like to have heard it again, but the Emperor thought that the living Nightingale should sing nowóbut where was she ? No one had noticed that she had flown out of the open window away to her green woods.
' What shall we do ! ' said the Emperor.
And all the Court scolded, and said that the Nightingale was very ungrateful. ' But we have still the best bird ! ' they said; and the artificial bird had to sing again, and that was the thirty-fourth time they had heard the same piece. But they did not yet know it by heart; it was much too difficult. And the bandmaster praised the bird tremendously; }Tes, lie assured them it was better than a real nightingale, not only because of its beautiful plumage and diamonds, but inside as well. ' For see, my Lords and Ladies and your Imperial Majesty, with the real Nightingale one can never tell what will come out, but all is known about the artificial bird ! You can explain it, you can open it and show people whore the waltzes lie, how they go, and how one follows the other!'
' That's just what we think ! ' said everyone ; and the bandmaster received permission to show the bird to the people the next Sunday. They should hear it sing, commanded the Emperor. And they heard it, and they were as pleased as if they had been intoxicated with tea, after the Chinese fashion, and they all said ' Oh !' and held up their forefingers and nodded time. But the poor fishermen who had heard the real Nightingale said: 'This one sings well enough, the tunes glide out; but there is something wantingó I don't know what !'
The real Nightingale was banished from the kingdom.
The artificial bird was put on silken cushions by the Emperor's bed, all the presents which it received, gold and precious stones, lay round it, and it was given the title of Imperial Night-singer, First from the left. For the Emperor counted that side as the more distinguished, being the side on which the heart is; the Emperor's heart is also on the left.
And the bandmaster wrote a work of twenty-five volumes about the artificial bird. It was so learned, long, and so full of the hardest Chinese words that everyone said they had read it and understood it; for once they had been very stupid about a book-, and had been trampled under foot in consequence. So a whole year passed. The Emperor, the Court, and all the Chinese knew exery note of the artificial bird's song by heart. But they liked it all the better for this; they could even sing with it, and they did. The street boys
z 2
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