Custom Search

Site Index | Kids | Kitchen | Shopping | Poetry | Weddings | Travel | Basic Irish | Quotes | Books | Music | Movies | Trivia | Blessings | Links| Jokes |

 

News Page

History Page
Traditions, folklore, history and more. If it's Irish, it's here. Or will be!

"People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors."
-Edmund Burke

Home Page



Kids Page


Kitchen Recipe Page


Quotes

Library: Books, Movies, Music

Prints & Photos

Poetry

Jokes


Irish Wedding



Shops Ireland


Bunús na Gaeilge
(Basic Irish)


Circle of Prayer

Blessings


Trivia Contest

Did You Know?


Himself/Herself

Write to Us

Readers Write..

Links/Link to Us

Advertise with us

Awards & Testimonials

Submissions Guide


Help keep us free
Throughout the site you will see many items available for purchase from well-known merchants such as Amazon. Not interested in what we're featuring? It doesn't matter. Click on any link and then shop for whatever you wish - we will still get credit, if you buy something.
Thanks for your help.



   

Index of All Children's Stories | Kids' Ireland Library

The Nightingale and the Rose
Edited and adapted by Bridget Haggerty from a story by Oscar Wilde.
Oscar Wilde was both unhappy and unlucky in love and this had a great influence on his work. This beautiful story is from his collection of fairy tales for children. But it has such a sad ending that we thought young readers might enjoy it more if it ended on a happier note.

It was winter. The student leaned on his elbows and stared out through the window on a garden that was bereft of flower, leaf or fern.

"She said she would dance with me if I brought her a red rose" cried the student; "but in all my garden there is no red rose."

From her nest in in the old oak tree the Nightingale heard him, and she looked out through the branches, and wondered.

"No red rose in all my garden!" he cried, and his beautiful eyes filled with tears. For want of a red rose is my life made sad."

"Here at last is a true lover," said the Nightingale. "Night after night have I sung of him, though I knew him not: night after night have I told his story to the stars, and now I see him. His hair as dark as my shadow, and his lips as red as the rose of his desire; but passion has made his face like pale ivory, and sorrow has set her seal upon his brow."

"The Prince gives a ball tomorrow night," murmured the young Student, "and my love will be of the company. She promised that if I bring her a red rose she will dance with me till dawn. If I bring her a red rose, I shall hold her in my arms, and she will lean her head upon my shoulder, and her hand will be clasped in mine. But there is no red rose in my garden, so I shall sit lonely and she will dance with another.

"Here indeed is the true lover," said the Nightingale. "What I sing of, he suffers -- what is joy to me, to him is pain. Surely Love is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than emeralds, and dearer than fine opals. Pearls and pomegranates cannot buy it, nor is it set forth in the marketplace. It may not be purchased of the merchants, nor can it be weighed out in the balance for gold."

"The musicians will sit in their gallery," said the young Student, "and play upon their stringed instruments, and my love will dance to the sound of the harp and the violin. She will dance so lightly that her feet will not touch the floor, and the courtiers in their gay dresses will throng round her. But with me she will not dance, for I have no red rose to give her"; and he flung himself down on the floor, and buried his face in his hands, and wept.

"Why is he weeping?" asked a deer as he ran past the window with his tail in the air.

"Why, indeed?" said a field mouse, who was seeking shelter from the cold.

"Why, indeed?" whispered a moth in a soft, low voice.

"He is weeping for a red rose," said the Nightingale.

"For a red rose?" they cried; "how silly!" and the little field mouse, who was something of a cynic, laughed outright.

But the Nightingale understood the secret of the Student's sorrow, and she sat silent in the oak-tree, and thought about the mystery of Love.

Suddenly she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the air. She passed through the grove like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed across the garden.

In the centre of a grass-plot was standing a beautiful Rose-tree, and when she saw it she flew over to it, and lit upon a spray.

"Give me a red rose," she cried, "and I will sing you my sweetest song."

But the Tree shook its head.

"My roses are white," it answered; "as white as the foam of the sea, and whiter than the snow upon the mountain. But go to my brother who grows round the old sun-dial, and perhaps he will give you what you want."

So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing round the old sun-dial.

"Give me a red rose," she cried, "and I will sing you my sweetest song."

But the Tree shook its head.

"My roses are yellow," it answered; "as yellow as the hair of the mermaiden who sits upon an amber throne, and yellower than the daffodil that blooms in the meadow before the mower comes with his scythe. But go to my brother who grows beneath the Student's window, and perhaps he will give you what you want."

So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing beneath the Student's window.

"Give me a red rose," she cried, "and I will sing you my sweetest song."

But the Tree shook its head.

"My roses are red," it answered, "as red as the feet of the dove, and redder than the great fans of coral that wave and wave in the ocean-cavern. But the winter has chilled my veins, and the frost has nipped my buds, and the storm has broken my branches, and I shall have no roses at all this year."

"One red rose is all I want," cried the Nightingale, "only one red rose! Is there no way by which I can get it?"

"There is a way," answered the Tree; "but it is so terrible that I dare not tell it to you."

"Tell it to me," said the Nightingale, "I am not afraid."

"If you want a red rose," said the Tree, "you must build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with your own heart's-blood. You must sing to me with your breast against a thorn. All night long you must sing to me, and the thorn must pierce your heart, and your life-blood must flow into my veins, and become mine."

"Death is a great price to pay for a red rose," cried the Nightingale, "and Life is very dear to all. It is pleasant to sit in the green wood, and to watch the Sun in his chariot of gold, and the Moon in her chariot of pearl. Sweet is the scent of the hawthorn, and sweet are the bluebells that hide in the valley, and the heather that blows on the hill. Yet Love is better than Life, and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?"

So she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the air. She swept over the garden like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed through the grove.

"Be happy," cried the Nightingale, "be happy; you shall have your red rose. I will build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with my own heart's-blood. All that I ask of you in return is that you will be a true lover, for Love is wiser than Philosophy, though she is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty. Flame-coloured are his wings, and coloured like flame is his body. His lips are sweet as honey, and his breath is like frankincense."

The Student looked up and listened, but he could not understand what the Nightingale was saying to him, for he only knew the things that are written down in books.

But the Oak-tree understood, and felt sad, for he was very fond of the little Nightingale who had built her nest in his branches.

"Sing me one last song," he whispered; "I shall feel very lonely when you are gone."

So the Nightingale sang to the Oak-tree, and her voice was like water bubbling from a silvery stream.

When she had finished her song the Student got up, and pulled a note-book and a lead-pencil out of his pocket.

"She has a lovely voice," he said to himself - "that cannot be denied to her; but has she got feelings? Would she sacrifice herself for others? Or does she think merely of making music? What a pity it is that it does not mean anything, or do any practical good." He then lay down on his little pallet-bed, and began to think of his love; and, after a time, he fell asleep.

And when the moon shone in the heavens the Nightingale flew to the Rose-tree, and set her breast against the thorn. All night long she sang with her breast against the thorn, and the cold crystal moon leaned down and listened. All night long she sang, and the thorn went deeper and deeper into her breast, and her life-blood ebbed away from her.

She sang first of the birth of love in the heart of a boy and a girl. And on the top-most spray of the Rose-tree there blossomed a marvellous rose, petal following petal, as song followed song. Pale it was, at first, as the mist that hangs over the river  - pale as the feet of the morning, and silver as the wings of the dawn. As the shadow of a rose in a mirror of silver, as the shadow of a rose in a water-pool, so was the rose that blossomed on the topmost spray of the Tree.

But the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. "Press closer, little Nightingale," cried the Tree, "or the Day will come before the rose is finished."

So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and louder and louder grew her song, for she sang of the birth of passion in the soul of a man and a maiden.

And a delicate flush of pink came into the leaves of the rose, like the flush in the face of the bridegroom when he kisses the lips of his bride. But the thorn had not yet reached her heart, so the rose's heart remained white, for only a Nightingale's heart's-blood can crimson the heart of a rose.

And the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. "Press closer, little Nightingale," cried the Tree, "or the Day will come before the rose is finished."

So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and the thorn touched her heart, and a fierce pang of pain shot through her. Bitter, bitter was the pain, and wilder and wilder grew her song, for she sang of the Love that will never die, the love that will last forever.

And the marvellous rose became crimson, like the rose of the eastern sky. Crimson was the girdle of petals, and crimson as a ruby was its heart.

But the Nightingale's voice grew fainter, and her little wings began to beat, and a film came over her eyes. Fainter and fainter grew her song, and she felt something choking her in her throat.

Then she gave one last burst of music. The white Moon heard it, and she forgot the dawn, and lingered on in the sky. The red rose heard it, and it trembled all over with ecstasy, and opened its petals to the cold morning air. Echo bore it to her purple cavern in the hills, and woke the sleeping shepherds from their dreams. It floated through the reeds of the river, and they carried its message to the sea.

"Look, look!" cried the Tree, "the rose is finished now"; but the Nightingale made no answer, for she was lying limp in the long, grass, with the thorn in her heart.

And at noon the Student opened his window and looked out.

"Why, what a wonderful piece of luck!" he cried; "here is a red rose! I have never seen any rose like it in all my life. It is so beautiful that I am sure it has a long Latin name"; and he leaned down and plucked it.

Then he put on his hat, and ran up to the house where his dear love lived with the rose in his hand.

Nervously, he knocked on the door and it was opened by his love. "You promised that you would dance with me if I brought you a red rose," cried the Student. "Here is the reddest rose in all the world. You will wear it tonight next your heart, and as we dance together it will tell you how I love you."

The girl smiled in wonder. "It is the most beautiful rose I have ever seen - and it will look well with my dress. Other suitors have sent me jewels but this rare red rose in winter means more to me than rubies."

At the ball, They danced all night and fell in love.

They saw each other often and after a while, the poor student asked her to marry him. Her answer was yes, but only on condition that he should become a professor like her father so that they would have an adequate income. The poor student was ecstatic for he had always wanted to be a teacher.

In time, the poor student finished his schooling and secured an excellent position which would eventually lead to him becoming a professor.

So he and his love married. And, in a year or so, they had a little girl they named Rose. She grew up to be a lovely child with long chestnut brown hair that flew in the wind as she ran through the fields. a girl with bright, curious eyes who loved to climb trees. a girl with skin as feather soft as the down of a new-born chick. A girl who loved to sing, especially, it seemed, in the bleak cold nights of winter. It was then she sang her heart out, her voice echoing through the valley. To all who could hear her, they said she had the voice of a nightingale.

Once in a while, the once poor student would look out his window and ponder on the mysterious rose he had found in his garden and the magical child who now enriched his life with such joy. And with a sigh of contentment, he went back to reading his books.

Images:
Nightingale
Moth from All Posters and Prints - Artist, Sam Abell
Little Girl from All Posters and Prints - Artist, Linda Spiker
Dark Red Rose from All Posters and Prints
Long Stemmed Rose from All Posters and Prints
Field Mouse (Wonderful Wildlife photos)
Deer from All Posters and Prints - photographer, Raymond Gehman
Bluebells from All Posters and Prints
Snow Capped Mountain from All Posters and Prints

Note for parents and older readers. If you would like to read the original text as he wrote it, the story appears in "The Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde".
These truly are children's stories, but they're written with Wilde's trademark wit, and the gravity that comes with age. Stories like "The Selfish Giant" and "The Nightingale and the Rose" are timeless and will live long past me or you. I've always felt that the best art transcends that gap between youth and adulthood, and the stories in this beautiful little book prove it. Edited and adapted from an Amazon reviewer. The stories are available on amazon. Please click Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde.

Any purchase made helps to support our site (and the Irish Culture & Customs fairytale). Thank you.


 

Tue, Dec 16, 2014

Christmas Crackers

No Christmas dinner in Ireland would be complete without the fun of finding a Christmas Cracker by your plate. And, no, it's not something you eat! These crackers are tubes covered with brightly coloured foil. Each tube is usually filled with a paper hat, a silly toy, a joke and a strip of paper which will make a pop when the cracker is pulled. Each end of the tube is twisted so the treats inside won't fall out. The fun begins when each cracker is pulled by two people and the cracker splits. In many homes, the crackers are pulled before dinner begins so that families can wear the funny paper hats throughout the meal. In other homes, the crackers are pulled after dinner. No matter when they're pulled, crackers always make the Christmas feast more fun.
Photo Credit & for a wide selection: Amazon



Click for More Culture Corner.


Fill out your email address to receive our Free Newsletter!
Powered by YourMailinglistProvider.com

"No man ever wore a cravat as nice, as his own child's arm around his neck."
- Irish Proverb


Witty as well as caustic, Oscar Wilde was also a master of the fairy-tale. As he once explained, his fairy tales were written partly for children and partly for those who have kept the child-like faculties of wonder and joy. This volume brings together all of his tales from two collections - The Happy Prince and the House of Pomegranates - and contains the evocative illustrations done for the original editions.
Click here for The Fairy Tales of oscar Wilde



Children's Irish Dictionary
by Hippocrene Books

As a total beginner in Irish, this has taught me quite a few words. The illustrations are beautifully done, and best of all, each word is given a rough English spelling of its pronunciation. Edited from an amazon review.
Click here for Kid's Irish Dictionary.


A lovely collection of well known Irish songs from the turn of the twentieth century. This album was created as a gift to MaryLee's Nana, Rose Burke Duval. The first half are songs well known to grandparents and the second half are original and traditional songs for children.

Click here for Irish Songs.



 

Site Index | Kids | Kitchen | Shopping | Poetry | Weddings | Travel | Basic Irish
Quotes |
Books | Music | Movies | Trivia | Blessings | Links | Jokes |

  All contents copyright © 2001 through 2011 inclusive - all rights reserved.
March 4, 2011
   
Rollover button Images:
Wedding LaRose, Kids Reading & Kitchen Apples and Tea from All Posters prints.
The information provided on this site is offered as-is, without warranty. This site's owners, operators, authors and partners disclaim any and all liability from the information provided herein.
Any trademarks or registered trademarks on this site are the property of their respective owners.