From Hans Christian Andersen... Long ago, in an emperor's garden, lived a Nightingale. The emperor ordered the bird to be brought to him, and she was locked in a golden cage. When the emperor received a mechanical Nightingale, the real Nightingale was banished. Years later, the emperor lay dying. At the window appeared the Nightingale, and she sang 'til Death slunk away. The emperor asked her to stay with him, but she knew her song sounded best in the green wood. Still, she visited him often, and sang and sang.
From Hans Christian Andersen
Written by Ellen Blackstone and Dominic Black
This is BirdNote.
[Song of the Common Nightingale]
As one of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales has it, in the realm of a Chinese Emperor many years ago, there was a Nightingale. And its song was so beautiful, it eclipsed the emperor's gardens, his palace of porcelain, everything.
So, as Emperors will, he had the Nightingale brought from the woods to sing for him. And he cries, “The song's so beautiful.”
“What a bird,” cry the courtiers. [Song of the Common Nightingale]
Before long, the emperor receives a gift: a mechanical Nightingale, encrusted with jewels. It sings only one song, but it keeps perfect time and you always know what to expect. “Incredible.” “What a bird,” cry the courtiers, as the real Nightingale is banished.
Five years later, the emperor's ill. Death lies on his heart. He orders his mechanical bird to sing, but there's nobody to wind it. Silence. Suddenly, a flutter of song floats by. “Little bird from Heaven, I know you of old,” says the emperor, as the Nightingale flies to his bedside. “I banished you once from my land, and yet you have sung away the evil faces from my bed.” [Song of the Common Nightingale]
Death takes flight. The emperor lives. And the Nightingale returns to the green woods, where its song resounds most beautifully. [Song of the Common Nightingale]
Song of the Common Nightingale recorded by Martyn Stewart, naturesound.org
Music: Le Rossignol - Igor Stravinsky
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org March 2018 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# 033007nightinKPLU nightingale-01b