I came to the emperor in a parcel labeled Nightingale. I am a mechanical bird who looks and sounds exactly like the real one—with several important improvements. Unlike the dull, dun-colored nightingale, I am set all over with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, and, when I am wound up, I can sing waltzes.

The real bird can’t sing waltzes, and they are all the rage now.

The Artificial Nightingale in The Nightingale, Hans Christian Andersen. Illustration by Margaret Tarrant.

artificial nightingale