Hans Christian Andersen
ingale-Carrier in Chief.
'Now, they must sing together; what a duet that will be.' Then they had to sing together, but they did not get on very well, for the real nightingale sang in its own way, and the artificial one could only sing waltzes.
'There is no fault in that,' said the music-master; 'it is perfectly in time and correct in every way!'
Then the artificial bird had to sing alone. It was just as great a success as the real one, and then it was so much prettier to look at; it glittered like bracelets and breast-pins.
It sang the same tune three and thirty times over, and yet it was not tired; people would willingly have heard it from the beginning again, but the emperor said that the real one must have a turn now—but where was it? No one had noticed that it had flown out of the open window, back to its own green woods.
'But what is the meaning of this?' said the emperor. All the courtiers railed at it, and said it was a most ungrateful bird. 'We have got the best bird though,' said they, and then the artifi- cial bird had to sing again, and this was the thirty-fourth time that they heard the same tune, but they did not know it thoroughly even yet, because it was so difficult.
The music-master praised the bird tremendously, and insisted that it was much better than the real nightingale, not only as regarded the outside with all the diamonds, but the inside too.
'Because you see, my ladies and gentlemen, and the emperor be- fore all, in the real nightingale you never know what you will hear, but in the artificial one everything is decided beforehand! So it is, and so it must remain, it can't be otherwise. You can account for things, you can open it and show the human ingenuity in arranging the waltzes, how they go, and how one note follows upon another!'
'Those are exactly my opinions,' they all said, and the music-mas- ter got leave to show the bird to the public next Sunday. They were also to hear it sing, said the emperor. So they heard it, and all be- came as enthusiastic over it as if they had drunk themselves merry on tea, because that is a thoroughly Chinese habit.
Then they all said 'Oh,' and stuck their forefingers in the air and nodded their heads; but the poor fishermen who had heard the real