Throughout the whole of a midsummer night a man had been listening to a nightingale’s song. He was so delighted that the next night he set a trap for the bird and captured it. ‘Now that I have caught thee,’ he cried, ‘thou shalt always sing for me.’
‘We nightingales never sing in cages,’ replied the bird.
‘Then I shall eat thee,’ said the man. ‘I have been told that nightingales on toast are dainty morsels.’
‘Nay, kill me not,’ replied the nightingale. ‘If you let me free, I shall tell thee three things that are worth far more than eating my poor little body.’
The man was so intrigued that he released the bird. It flew to a branch of one of the surrounding trees and from there called:
‘First: Never believe a captive’s promise.
‘Second: Keep what you have.
‘And third: Sorrow not over what is lost forever.’
With that, the nightingale flew away.
A Fable by Asop
ca. 620-560 B.C.
• ‘And The Birds Were Singing’
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