Friday, December 26, 2008

if I could paint I'd..


Then the nightingale sang.

"That's it," said the little kitchen girl. "Listen, listen! And yonder he sits." She pointed to a little gray bird high up in the branches.

"Is it possible?" cried the Lord-in Waiting. "Well, I never would have thought he looked like that, so unassuming. But he has probably turned pale at seeing so many important people around him."

"Little nightingale," the kitchen girl called to him, "our gracious Emperor wants to hear you sing."

"With the greatest of pleasure," answered the nightingale, and burst into song.

"Very similar to the sound of glass bells," said the Lord-in-Waiting. "Just see his little throat, how busily it throbs. I'm astounded that we have never heard him before. I'm sure he'll be a great success at court."

"Shall I sing to the Emperor again?" asked the nightingale, for he thought that the Emperor was present.

"My good little nightingale," said the Lord-in-Waiting, "I have the honor to command your presence at a court function this evening, where you'll delight His Majesty the Emperor with your charming song."

"My song sounds best in the woods," said the nightingale, but he went with them willingly when he heard it was the Emperor's wish.

***

The story quoted here is The Nightingale by Hans Christian Andersen and the painting is my favorite of all the illustrations done by Edmund Dulac.

12 comments:

La Belette Rouge said...

I had never heard that story before. It is a beautiful and that illustration is gorgeous. that said, I am sure your illustration of it would be even more numinous.
Hope you had a very happy Christmas.

susan said...

Belette - It is a lovely story that I'm delighted you were able to take some time to read. Dulac's work is the touchstone I aspire to emulate but he's very subtle and my palette is too bright.

Pagan Sphinx said...

Oh. How wonderful that you thought to post this. What a beautiful little story. I'm so moved by it...
and the illustration is perfect. I'm going to have to go back to the story and the image...thank you, Susan. I hope you had a good Christmas day. :-)

laughingwolf said...

lovely!

season's blessings to you and yours....

susan said...

pagan sphinx - I'm glad you enjoyed both. They were geniuses of quieter times.

laughing wolf - Wishing you all the best.

laughingwolf said...

thx susan :D

Utah Savage said...

Lovely, though I do fear the nightingale will end up baked in a pie like one of the four and twenty black birds. Kings, emperors--such unpredictable men with odd whims.

susan said...

utah savage - The emperor in the story was no different so far as being a creature of whims was concerned but the nightingale escaped when the emperor got a jeweled, mechanical bird. We know what happens to such things.

Ben said...

That is a beautiful story. Friend of Crow's?

You've posted some Dulac pictures before. I can't blame you, either.

Seraphine said...

the nightinggale only went with the lord-in-waiting because he wanted to see the emperors new clothes.
i too like the painting. it's the bridge, i think, plus all the oval and egg shapes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing us Dulac and Anderson. Sadly, I'm not very familiar with Dulac's paintings. That's probably because I spent most of my youth playing street games with my NYC friends. Now I have an opportunity to discover more of his work. Again, thanks.

susan said...

ben - The nightingale is a great story and yes, I posted one of Dulac's paintings before. My stuff doesn't stand much comparison.

sera - and he discovered for himself that although the emperor appeared to be naked there was a spark in him too.

I have a print of the painting in a very old book which I treasure.

spartacus - His work is very subtle and your ability to appreciate it surely comes from the lessons you learned with your friends. Images are cheap these days but love runs deep.