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The Nightingale

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The Nightingale Part III
The emperor's craftsmen could not fix the mechanical nightingale.
The emperor's craftsmen could not fix the mechanical nightingale.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Below is the third part of "The Nightingale."

Soon the emperor of Japan made good on his promise and sent a gift to China. The emperor of China opened the gift to find an artificial nightingale that looked even more beautiful than the real nightingale. This artificial bird was covered in diamonds and sapphires and rubies. The jewels were made to look like feathers and shimmered and shone under the palace lights.

The real marvel, however, came when the bird was wound up. The emperor of China turned the crank on the side of the artificial nightingale and was treated to the song that came from inside the bird. This bird sounded as good as the real nightingale, and it looked even better!

However, the real nightingale did not like this new bird. The new, fake nightingale only sang waltzes, and not true nightingale songs. The real nightingale left its cage and flew back to its home in the garden.

"That was very strange behavior," said the emperor of China. "I wonder where the nightingale went."

"Who cares?" asked one of his subjects. "This new bird sings just as sweetly, and it looks far more beautiful than the plain, gray nightingale."

"And with this bird," added another, "we will always know that fine waltzes will be sung. We never knew what the real nightingale might sing."

"Indeed, we have the best bird right here," a third said.

But one evening, when the new nightingale was singing one of its finest waltzes, the emperor heard a peculiar sound come from the bird. There was a whizz, and then there was a crack, and finally there came a whirr. And with that, the artificial nightingale stopped singing.

The emperor called for his best craftsmen, but they could do nothing. The nightingale was broken.

Time passed, with no nightingale music to fill the air in China. The people of China were overcome with grief. The emperor would not leave his bed. He became ill with sorrow, missing the song of his beloved bird. The emperor's subjects worried that he would not get better.

Then one morning from outside the emperor's bedroom window came the sound of the sweetest singing. There on a tree branch just outside the window sat the real, live nightingale. The bird had heard of the emperor's illness and had come to sing to him out of love, for the emperor had once loved the nightingale so dearly.

The nightingale sang its beautiful song for the ailing emperor.
The nightingale sang its beautiful song for the ailing emperor.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

And as the nightingale sang its beautiful song, the emperor began to feel better. His arms and limbs were not so weak. His heart did not hurt so. The emperor sat up and thanked the nightingale, who had flown to his bedpost. And that is where the nightingale stayed, happily, for the rest of its days.

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