Once upon a time there was a Chinese emperor. This emperor lived in the most magnificent palace in the world. But more magnificent than his palace were his palace gardens. The palace gardens were magical. And in this magical garden, there was a nightingale.
This was no ordinary nightingale. The nightingale’s song was so beautiful and magical, that everyone who heard it, had to stop and listen.
When the emperor heard about this nightingale, he was furious. “Who does this nightingale think she is? She lives in my garden. obviously eats off my trees, but I have never heard her sing. Bring her to me at once”, he ordered.
A golden tree was placed in front of the emperor and the little grey nightingale was brought before him. The little nightingale sang so beautifully that tears flowed from the emperors eyes. As the tears continued to roll down the old mans cheeks, the nightingales song grew sweeter and sweeter. Her voice touched every persons heart. She became a star.
Then one day, the emperor received a gift from his chief engineer. It was a mechanical nightingale. It was designed to mimic the real nightingales song but it was also beautiful. Encrusted with diamonds, rubies and sapphires, it glittered as it sang. It sang so much like the original nightingale that everyone in the kingdom wanted to hear the two nightingales sing together. And they did.
But the duet sounded wrong. The real nightingale sang from natural inspiration and the other followed mechanically. When compared with the original, the mechanical bird looked flawed. So the artificial bird was made to sing alone. It became as popular as the real nightingale and was pleasing to the eye because as it sang, its gems sparkled.
The mechanical bird could sing the same song thirty-three times repeatedly without becoming tired at all. This so pleased the people that they chased the real nightingale away. The real nightingale was banished from the palace and the city and the mechanical bird took seat of honour on a little lacquered table besides the emperors bed.
Then one evening when the mechanical bird was singing and the emperor was listening, there was a sudden “crack” from inside the birds body and the song stopped. All the gear levers became jammed. The inners of the mechanical bird had rusted. The mechanical bird would never sing again.
Five years later the country was plunged into deep gloom. The people loved their emperor and he had fallen ill. It was said that the emperor was about to die. The old emperor lay cold and pale in his bed, struggling to breath, he felt the weight of people tramping on his chest. And as he opened his eyes, he saw Death. Death had come to fetch him. This scared him.
Then suddenly from the window a delightful sound was heard. It was the real nightingale, who sat perched outside the emperors window. She had learned of the emperors illness and had come to cheer him up, to bring him hope. The real nightingale sang so beautifully, divinely, that the emperors vision of death disappeared. As if by magic, the old man was healed and regained his strength.
“Thank you, thank you, heavenly little nightingale,” he shouted with joy. “I chased you away and yet you came back. Your song has chased away the dark and evil gloom. How can I reward you?”
“You have already rewarded me,” sang the nightingale. “Tears came to your eyes the first time I sang. For me, those were diamonds that I shall never forget. Let me come and visit you whenever I can. I shall sing to you of the joyful and sad, I shall sing of the good and the bad, I shall sing about all the things you doubt. Because a little nightingale flies everywhere and sees everything. All I need is for you to make me one promise. Do not tell anyone that you have a little nightingale who tells you everything. Believe me it is for the best.”
And the real nightingale flew away. A moment later the courtesans arrived to see the dying emperor. They were astonished when the emperor sat up and said, “Good Day!”.
Based on Hans Christian Andersons story entitled “The Nightingale”, this story speaks of so many issues that we currently face. Authenticity versus mimicry, artificial intelligence versus human ability, real versus fake. For me it encourages, singing from my soul, expressing my truth, sharing my genius.
What does it mean to you?
Dr Nitasha Buldeo is an Integrated Medical Practitioner, Entrepreneur, Scientist and Yogi. She created I-Yoga & Organic Apoteke and is Director of the Centre for Exceptional Human Performance. She researches human potential and delivers programs that encourage you to live exceptionally. Nitasha believes that every one of us is striving to be the best we can. Her passion is bringing you experiences that inspire you. Her intention is for you to unlock your genius.