Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Sun , the thorny shrubs and the nightingale's throat

Note: I had posted a part of this story some days ago. I had wanted to assess then if virtue meeting a tragic end is more touchng than a virtuous but tragic protagonist battling against and winning over adversity. I am posting the full story below. Will be grateful to rreceive comments giving comparative assessment of the two versions: .

"Said a nightingale to a snake: "There is a little poison in my heart too. When its pain stings sharp, I sing and feel light as a feather. Why do you never sing?"

A cuckoo heard the nightingale, smiled and said, "Snakes have no ears and he can't hear your words."

The nightingale became pensive and said to herself,"How sad he can't hear my songs. There is no music in his life." And she wondered if that was why the snake had to live with so much poison in his soul. "I must find some way to help him sing," she found herself mumbling, and the melancholy strain in her song filled the valley.

The snake slithered into a dark hole. This saddened the nightingale even more. The valley reverberated with her pain all night. In the morning, the sun searched every branch, but the nightingale was nowhere to be found. Said a little flower to the sun,"She has gone to some unknown valleys to get some music for the snake who lives here."

"Amen !" said the sun, and went about his work, too sad deep within his heart as he had seen something that looked like a nightingale's body lying peacefully still close to where the snake lived. But the sun did not want to violate the innocence of the the little flower, and remained quiet.

A distant star, who had been watching all this, rubbed his eyes under the glare of the sun and shouted from afar, " She sang incessantly all night, and that drilled a hole in her throat. Her last song before day break was a promise to fetch music from strange lands for the snake and others. She left as she had lived -- singing."

The thorny plants that infested the forest did not believe the star. "The nightingale had been the cause of too much noise here , sang for the snake alone and did nothing to solve the problems of the poorest among us, " they complained to the sun.

The sun looked at them, smiled and moved over from the forest. "Did the nightingale sing for the snake alone?" he murmured to himself. He glanced over his shoulder and looked at the thorny plants, who had already forgotten their complaints against the nightingale and were lost in their daily fights against one another. "The snake did not hear the nightingale's song because he could not. But the thorny plants have ears," thought the sun, and his heart was filled with pity for the plants.

As the sun prepared to set over the darkening jungle, he heard a soft tune he thought he had heard many times before. It was a song overflowing with love and compassion, and it seemed to waft over the gentle wings of the breeze. Suddenly, the sun could see a luminous ball of feathers flying across the horizon. It was glowing with strange light that remsembled neither his own shine nor the cool rays of the moon. His heart was filled with happiness the like of which he had never experienced before.

"The stubborn little girl can never stop singing songs of love. She mocks her destiny. I fear for her life," said the sun to himself, but in the heart of his hearts he was happy, and he knew that there was nothing to fear for the nightingale. But he wished the thorny plants would understand the nightingale's song. "Perhaps then they would have less of the hatred in their hearts which they have come to enjoy but which consumes them day and night."

Suddenly, he was reminded of the power of innocence, and he went on his diurnal journey with peace in his heart.

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