De Chinese Nachtegaal (The Chinese Nightingale)
Since 1999, the Chinese nightingale has turned into something quite different to how it first started in 1952.
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Originally a Hans Christian Andersen tale.
Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there was an emperor who lived in China in a porcelain palace. The palace’s gardens were the biggest and most beautiful gardens in the entire world and in that garden lived a nightingale with the most beautiful and enchanting song.
One morning, the Chinese emperor received a letter from an emperor in Japan. The Japanese emperor had heard of the nightingale and wanted to come and listen to it sing. So the emperor called for his Lord Chamberlain and said “Bring the bird for us to listen to this evening.” The Lord Chamberlain didn’t know where to find it and asked the people of the castle if they knew. “I know where it is,” said a servant girl. So off they both went in search of this special little bird.
That evening, the emperor was deeply moved by the bird’s singing. “Dearest nightingale, tell me what it is you have always wanted and I will give it to you,” said the emperor. “I have seen the emperor cry,” replied the nightingale, “and for a singer like me, there is no better reward than that.” So that very same day, the emperor appointed the nightingale Imperial Singer of the Nightstands and gave him a golden cage to live in inside the palace. The nightingale missed his freedom but was comforted by how much the emperor enjoyed his singing.
Then the emperor received a present from the Japanese emperor. It was another beautiful bird, but this time, not a real bird. It was mechanical. The emperor was very pleased with his new mechanical bird and it could sing as well as, if not more beautifully than the nightingale. Again and again the emperor would choose to listen to the mechanical bird rather than the nightingale. This made the nightingale very sad. So sad, that he flew away, back to the peaceful gardens where he came from and back to freedom. Do you think the nightingale will ever return?
The Chinese nightingale was one of the first 10 fairytales from the Fairytale Forest. He had his own special branch to perch on but has become much more.
The story of The Chinese Nightingale is played on audio during the show. This is in the Dutch language. Please find below a translation for your benefit.
Long ago an emperor lived in China.
He loved the very finest of things and when he heard that there was a bird in his empire, who sang so beautifully that people came from far and wide to hear its songs, he gave the order to look for this bird.
The nightingale was very honoured and that night he appeared at the window of the emperor.
Emperor: "Is this all?!"
…Exclaimed the disappointed emperor at the sight of the simple grey bird.
But the song of the nightingale struck the emperor directly in his heart. Tears of emotion streamed over his cheeks.
Emperor: "This is the most beautiful thing I have ever heard!"
…stammered the emperor and every evening the nightingale appeared at his window and sang its highest song to the emperor.
Until something terrible happened. Suddenly an awful sound came from the bird. After which it was silent and no matter what the emperor tried it was to no avail. The emperor was inconsolable. He became sick with grief.
Throughout China everyone was so very sad. For all the people loved their emperor dearly.
!The video below has English subtitles!
The translation in a handy PDF
A handy audio file of the translation
A compilation of all the translations of all the audio stories you may come across in the Efteling.