Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Bat and the Nightingale

This was our assignment from this past week; to use the same techniques I mentioned earlier to rewrite the Chinese fable: The Bat and the Nightingale. My version titled "An Uncooperative Concert" is shown below.

On the majestic banks of the River Li, which flows through China, there was once a great forest in which resided many creatures. Although any of these creatures might make very interesting subjects, this tale tells of only two of them, of a bat and a nightingale.

The bat was a nocturnal animal, that is he slept the daylight hours away and patrolled the banks by night, in search of mosquitoes. The other was a nightingale. Although she also was nocturnal, it was just about the only thing she had in common with the bat. Singing was her main occupation, and she sang beautifully, so beautifully that the emperor himself came every night with his royal entourage to hear this tiny bird sing. Unfortunately all this attention made the nightingale quite vain and her neighbor the bat, who was a sensible if unattractive creature, began to feel the effects of it.

After her nightly concert for the emperor she always delighted in insulting and nagging the bat. "You lazy bat!" she would say "I sing nightly for the emperor and his court, and all you do is laze around and eat mosquitoes. You are of no real importance, you should learn to make yourself useful." The bat said nothing. Unhindered, the nightingale' s monologue flowed on, the bat however remained silent, because he was unwilling to engage in argument with such an overly loquacious creature. On the quiet dark banks, later that night, he concocted a clever plan, which would show the nightingale the necessity of talents other then that of singing.

As usual, the emperor came with his typical company to hear the nightingale sing. Seemingly the concert would be the same as it always was, but in reality there was a difference. The bat had stayed at home, comfortably waiting to view the upcoming spectacle. In the branches above the audience mosquitoes swarmed. Unabated by the bat, hungry, called together by the presence of a group of humans, or in their minds food, they pounced. Havoc quickly ensued. Singing on, the nightingale did not notice the courtiers backing away and then running for cover. As the first mosquito pounced on him the emperor jumped, because he was a very small and very thin man his jump was quite astoundingly high, squealed and took off as fast as he could. He was a nervous excitable being and his movement consisted in a cross between a series of nervous jumps and frantic running, he reminded one of a very short grasshopper.

The nightingale then realized she no longer had an audience and seeing the bat hanging lazily on the branch of tree guessed the reason. Humbly she said to the bat "I'm sorry, I should have realized your importance in the forest instead of bragging about my talent. Will you forgive me?" Since the nightingale was really sincere and
because the bat was a kind creature, he did forgive her and from then on they acted in cooperation with each other and thus lived happily ever after.

1 comment:

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