half the court ran with him, for they none of them wished to be trampled on. There was much questioning about this nightingale, which was known to all the outside world, but to no one at court. At last they found a poor little maid in the kitchen. She said, 'Oh heavens, the nightingale? I know it very well. Yes, indeed it can sing. Every evening I am allowed to take broken meat to my poor sick mother: she lives down by the shore. On my way back, when I am tired, I rest awhile in the wood, and then I hear the nightingale. Its song brings the tears into my eyes; I feel as if my mother were kiss- ing me!'
'Little kitchen-maid,' said the gentleman-in-waiting, 'I will pro- cure you a permanent position in the kitchen, and permission to see the emperor dining, if you will take us to the nightingale. It is com- manded to appear at court to-night.'
Then they all went out into the wood where the nightingale usu- ally sang. Half the court was there. As they were going along at their best pace a cow began to bellow.
'Oh!' said a young courtier, 'there we have it. What wonderful power for such a little creature; I have certainly heard it before.'
'No, those are the cows bellowing; we are a long way yet from the place.' Then the frogs began to croak in the marsh.
'Beautiful!' said the Chinese chaplain, 'it is just like the tinkling of church bells.'
'No, those are the frogs!' said the little kitchen-maid. 'But I think we shall soon hear it now!'
Then the nightingale began to sing. 'There it is!' said the little girl. 'Listen, listen, there it sits!' and she pointed to a little grey bird up among the branches.
'Is it possible?' said the gentleman-in-waiting. 'I should never have thought it was like that. How common it looks! Seeing so many grand people must have frightened all its colours away.'
'Little nightingale!' called the kitchen-maid quite loud, 'our gra- cious emperor wishes you to sing to him!'
'With the greatest of pleasure!' said the nightingale, warbling away in the most delightful fashion.
'It is just like crystal bells,' said the gentleman-in-waiting. 'Look at its little throat, how active it is. It is extraordinary that we have