“No; do not do that,” replied the nightingale; “the bird did very well as long as it could. Keep it here still. I cannot live in the palace, and build my nest; but let me come when I like. I will sit on a bough outside your window, in the evening, and sing to you, so that you may be happy, and have thoughts full of joy. I will sing to you of those who are happy, and those who suffer; of the good and the evil, who are hidden around you. The little singing bird flies far from you and your court to the home of the fisherman and the peasant’s cot. I love your heart better than your crown; and yet something holy lingers round that also. I will come, I will sing to you; but you must promise me one thing.”
“Everything,” said the emperor, who, having dressed himself in his imperial robes, stood with the hand that held the heavy golden sword pressed to his heart.
“I only ask one thing,” she replied; “let no one know that you have a little bird who tells you everything. It will be best to conceal it.” So saying, the nightingale flew away.
The servants now came in to look after the dead emperor; when, lo! there he stood, and, to their astonishment, said, “Good morning.”
1.The original translation is “The Emperor of China’s nightingale is poor compared with that of the Emperor of Japan’s.” This certainly not what Andersen intended. I am grateful to Ida Holst for pointing the error to me.[ZH]
By: Hans Christian Andersen