1. Introduction: Emperor's Garden
"My word! That's lovely!"
These books went all over the world and so in course of time some of them reached the Emperor there he sat in his golden chair reading: "But the nightingale is really the best of all."
2. Nightingale Theme
Here lived a nightingale
that sang so beatifully
3. Emperor & Gentleman in-waiting
"What's this?" thought the Emperor.
"Is there such a bird in my Empire?
and what's more: in my own GARDEN!?"
"... she's never been presented at COURT.
It's the first I've ever heard of her!"
"If she fails to appear then every courtier shall be punched in the stomach directly after supper!"
4. In the Quest
So then they all set out for the wood where the nightingale used to sing; half the Court joined in the quest. As they were going along
a cow began to moo.
"Ah, there she is!" said the courtiers
"No, that's a cow mooing! We've still got a long way to go!"
Then some frogs started croaking in the pond.
"Delightful," said the Emperor's chaplain,
"now I can hear her,
just like little church bells!"
"No, those are frogs! But I expect we shall soon hear her now."
"There she is! Listen! " said the little girl,
"up there! Little nightingale!"
called out the small kitchen maid quite boldly.
"Our gracious Emperor would like you
to sing to him."
6. At the Palace
At the palace every thing had been polished up, until the china walls and floors glittered in the light of thousands of gold lamps. The loveliest flowers hung ready for tinkling, their bells were all set ringing.
At the palace, at the Court every one was dressed in their finest clothes, and you couldn't hear a word that was spoken In the middle of the great hall in which the Emperor sat was a golden perch for the nightingale:
the entire Court was present
and the little kitchen maid was allowed
to stand behind the door, as she now ranked as a regular palace kitchen maid!
And the nightingale sang so beautifully
that tears came into the Emperor's eyes
and then the nightingale's singing
became even lovelier.
and then it went straight to his heart.
"Who ever saw such airs and graces!"
said the ladies around;
and they went and filled their mouths
with water so as to gurgle when anyone spoke to them.
They thought they could be nightingales too!
Yes, even the lackeys and ladies' maids
expressed their approval; and that's saying a good deal,
for they are the most difficult of all to satisfy.
There's no doubt whatever,
the nightingale made a great hit.
7. The Artificial Bird
... and all the while it's tail went up and down,
glittering with silver and gold.
The street boys sang
and the Emperor sang it too!
It really was a tremendous fun!
Over and over it sang it's one and only song thirty three times without tiring.
"How delightful!" they all said.
Nightingale, the Artificial bird,
with diamonds, rubies and sapphires.
No one had noticed her fly
out of the open window
away to her own green woods.
The real nightingale was sent into exile,
banished from land and realm.
8. The Emperor & the Death
Five years had now gone by and presently the whole country was filled with sorrow.
Cold and pale lay the Emperor in his magnificent great bed.
The whole Court believed him to be dead. Stiff and pale he lay.
Everywhere, in all the rooms and corridors, heavy cloth had been laid down
in order to deaden the sound of footsteps, the whole palace was still as still could be.
But the Emperor was NOT dead yet.
Through an open window high up the wall the moon was shining down on the Emperor and the Artificial bird.
The poor Emperor could scarcely breathe.
It was just as if something was sitting on his chest.
It was DEATH, ...
the Emperor's good and evil deeds,
sitting on his heart gazing down on him now
and had put on his head a gold crown
and was holding the Emperor's sword
in one hand and his splendid banner in the other.
Strange faces were peering: "Do you remember that?"
And the nightingale sang so beautifully
that tears came into the Emperor's eyes,
and then the nightingale's singing became even lovelier,
and then it went straight to his heart
"Do you remember?"
Close to the window came out
a burst of most beautiful singing.
It was the little live nightingale
perched in a tree;
the shapes grew fainter and fainter.
... but the nightingale is really the best of all
said the book he was reading.
There he sat in his golden chair reading:
"But the nightingale is really the best of all." Oh, nightingale!