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World Folk Tales – The Emperor and the Nightingale

What happens when a nightingale becomes too close to the emperor such that his very life depends on it??

World Folk Tales – The Emperor and the Nightingale PR076 UNIV 08

Once upon a time there was a king by the name of Wu, who ruled China. The kingdom was prosperous and everyone was happy. At the same time in the endless palace gardens, there was a nightingale too which was keeping people happy in her own way. The nightingale would sing and the guards would be happy and cheerful listening to it. But Wu never came to know about this lovely nightingale that resided in own gardens.

One day, a messenger came running into the court, bearing a message about the Japanese emperor’s visit to their kingdom. Wu at once ordered that the Japanese emperor should receive the best treatment and that he should be taken care of well until he returns back to Japan. And so the Japanese emperor came and he received the best hospitality.

One day, as the Japanese emperor was walking through the palace gardens, he heard the nightingale sing and owing to her soothing voice, he drifted off to another world. Then eventually, the Japanese emperor returned to his kingdom and he sent Wu a letter, thanking him for his hospitality. In the letter, there was a specific mention about the nightingale and her sweet voice. Wu then wanted to know about the whereabouts of this nightingale and so he ordered his guards to bring her to him.

The guards took the nightingale from the gardens and brought her in front of Wu. The nightingale then began to sing as was her habit and Wu was deeply impressed by her voice. From then on, Wu raised the nightingale in his room and they both became very close friends.

One day in order to thank Wu, the Japanese emperor sent a gift to him. It was a wooden toy of the nightingale he had seen. But that was not all. It had a key to it and when the key was twisted enough, the toy would sing, just as if a real nightingale would sing. Wu fell in love with this present and he ordered that it be taken to his room. From that day on, Wu only played with the toy and listened to its voice and he never called upon his best friend, the nightingale to sing for him. The nightingale saw all this and grew distressed. She then left the palace with a vow to never return again.

Wu never realised the absence of his best friend until the toy broke one fine day. He asked his guards to enquire around the world for anyone who could repair it. After many days, the guards returned with bad news and said that there was nobody who could fix it. They said that even the original toymaker had died and hence there was no hope. Wu, who had now grown attached to listening to the sweet songs of the nightingale, fell sick and became bedridden. The doctors, after conducting numerous tests and analysing his situation, said that only the nightingale’s voice could heal him.

Wu remained bedridden with no cure in sight and he was on the verge of death. The guards tried to look for the nightingale but they could not find her anywhere and had completely given up. One fine day, a flutter of wings was heard by the windowsill and a lovely song filled the air in the room where the king was lying. Wu woke up thinking it was a dream, only to see his long lost friend sitting on the windowsill, right there in front of him. He went running up to her and apologised for his mistake. The nightingale continued to sing happily and Wu recovered fully. The nightingale and Wu lived happily ever after.

Moral – Always make sure to keep your best friends close and take care of them.

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