Aesop: The Labourer and the Nightingale

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 the third piece of advice is: Sorrow not over what is lost forever.’ Then the song-bird flew away.