Aesop's Fables

by Aesop

“The Labourer and the Nightingale”

Additional Information
  • Year Published: 1867
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: Greece
  • Source: Aesop (1867) Aesop's Fables
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 3.8
  • Word Count: 174
  • Genre: Fable
  • Keywords: traditional stories
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A Labourer lay listening to a Nightingale’s song throughout the summer night. So pleased was he with it that the next night he set a trap for it and captured it. “Now that I have caught thee,” he cried, “thou shalt always sing to me.”

“We Nightingales never sing in a cage.” said the bird.

“Then I’ll eat thee.” said the Labourer. “I have always heard say that a nightingale on toast is dainty morsel.”

“Nay, kill me not,” said the Nightingale; “but let me free, and I’ll tell thee three things far better worth than my poor body.” The Labourer let him loose, and he flew up to a branch of a tree and said: “Never believe a captive’s promise; that’s one thing. Then again: Keep what you have. And third piece of advice is: Sorrow not over what is lost forever.” Then the song-bird flew away.