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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by Hans Christian Andersen
Age Range: 9-11
The Nightingale is a well-known tale by Hans Christian Andersen. When the Emperor of China hears the beautiful sound of the Nightingale it brings tears to his eyes. The Emperor wants to keep the Nightingale in a cage so that he can hear his song whenever he wants but the little bird is sad and wants to be free. When a clockwork mechanical nightingale is made for the Emperor he is delighted and no longer yearns for the sound of the real bird. However, it is the real Nightingale who is able to charm away death itself towards the end of this well-loved story.
Anthea Bell’s translation of The Nightingale from the original Danish is accompanied by Lisbeth Zwerger’s exquisite ink and wash drawings, which also conjure up a sensitive, yet powerful, image of ancient China.