As i sit at my writing desk:
Many long years ago I saw a movie made of an ancient story placed in
China. How an Emperor had enjoyed the songs of a Nightingale. And had
replaced it with a mechanical bird, but its song was not as sweet. And
how the bird almost died, because it had been abandoned by that Emperor.
But this is not about The Nightingale. This story is about The Littlest
Nightingale. Not a baby bird, but the smallest adult Nightingale there
ever was, and the human who loved it.
[ background music: one violin, no more, no less. ]
A few years ago, not in China, but in Europe, there was a young woman
who wanted to skate, and win, very badly.
To win the yearly prize, so she could give her parents a great and
wonderful Christmas present.
For months, and from year to year, she practiced skating on the ice.
A small Nightingale joined her one day, sitting up there on the tree
branch. It sang in accompaniment of the human who made figures in the
ice below the tree.
The young girl shared her lunch with the bird, and then skated some
more. The bird took off, as the young girl said good-bye, see you
And tomorrow came, and the little girl and the little bird was there
once again. This time the girl had an audio tape, it played a single
violin. Music to skate by. The little bird was slightly upset at first,
yet it wasn’t about to be out done by a machine !
So, it sang, in point, then counter-point to that violin.
The little girl laughed with joy at the bird’s song.
They both practiced every day.
Soon, oh so very soon, the day of the contest arrived.
Yet, there were those who didn’t think the Littlest Girl in class
should be in the skating contest. They couldn’t steal her skates, no one
else could wear hers, so it would be obvious who had done what. But an
erased or missing audio tape, that would fix things.
So, thats what they did. While the Littlest Girl was talking with a
friend, someone reached a hand out of the crowd, and took that music
tape from its pocket in the backpack of the Littlest Girl.
When she went to turn in her tape, she discovered the loss. And, putting
a brave face on things, told the judge that she wasn’t going to use an
audio tape. One wasn’t required, so that was alright.
Other skaters got high scores.
The Littlest Girl became forlorn, well more forlorn than usual. She had
heard the chuckles and the whispered words, about how Little Girls need
not enter skating contests !
It came her turn, she walks to the edge of the ice, and got ready to
perform. Up in a nearby tree, a bird did alight.
The young girl pushed out onto the ice, and the Littlest Nightingale
sang that song they had practiced together.
The holiday crowd became quiet and still.
They won, of course.
The Littlest Girl and the Littlest Nightingale.