Within the garden of the emperor of China there lived a nightingale, who sang so beautifully that everyone commented on it, be they the poor fishermen who worked near by, or travellers from far off lands, who wrote poetry about the nightingale.
Word finally reached the emperor, who demanded that the nightingale be presented to him. When his court finally found the small grey bird in the wood, the nightingale agreed to sing before the emperor. The visit was a great success, as the nightingale brought tears to the emperor's eyes. Unfortunately, the nightingale was required to remain at court, instead of flying free in the wood.
One day the emperor received a mechanical nightingale. That was the end of the real nightingale's popularity, since the mechanical one could sing without rest, and was much prettier, being covered with sparkles. No one noticed the real nightingale flying back to her home.
By and by, the mechanical nightingale broke down. The emperor became very sick, until one night, he lay in his bed and Death sat on his chest, waiting. Suddenly from outside, the nightingale began to sing. As she sang, even Death stopped to listen, and the emperor became well again. The emperor asked the nightingale to come and live in the palace again, but the little bird refused, instead agreeing to come and sing outside his window every night.
In the morning, a healthy and happy emperor surprised his servants, who came in expecting to find him dead.