THE HALF NIGHTINGALE

Once upon a time there was a sultan who had three sons. He was very religious and would spend almost the whole day praying in the mosque. Once, he called his bravest soldiers from all over the world and built the biggest and the most wonderful mosque that had ever existed.

But when he went to pray in the mosque, a monk always passed by and told him:

The mosque is so wonderful, Your Majesty, but the praying is of no value. This thing happened to the sultan every few days and he was really mad. When his sons saw him like that, they asked him what had happened and he told them the story.

Then they went the next day with him to the mosque, he was praying inside and they were waiting for him outside. The monk passed by again and spoke the same words to the sultan, when he went outside the mosque, the sultan’s sons were waiting for him and asked him why he said those words. The monk answered:

This mosque is wonderful, but if the Half Nightingale was inside it, then this mosque would be beyond compare.

They asked him if he knew where this nightingale lived and he said he had heard about it but didn’t know where it lived.

Then the boys went back to the palace and told the sultan what they heard, and took off to find the Nightingale. They walked for around twenty days and they reached at a road which then continued in three other roads. Each of the first two roads had a stone where it was written: ‘‘Who walks this way comes back’’, but the third road had a stone where ‘‘Who walks this way, never comes back ’’ was written.

Then the youngest brother said they should go on their ways and leave the rings there, and the first who would come back, should go and help the others too. They left the rings at the beginning of the roads and the youngest of them took the road which had written the never-coming-back, while the other two brothers took the other roads. The oldest brother arrived in a town where he became a barber, the middle brother went to another town and opened a coffee-house. They continued living there to earn some money. While the youngest brother went to a place where no human being lived and he could see only beasts all over the place.

On his way, he ran into a savage woman who was combing her hair with a sword, so he went closer and combed her hair with a real comb.

She wanted to give him anything he wanted for the good he did, but he said he needed nothing but to find out about the place where the Half Nightingale lived. And she said:

The bird you want to find isn’t here, and you’d better go back where you came from, because there are bigger and more horrifying beast in the mountains that even I cannot fight against.

The boy didn’t listen to her, and after he greeted her, he climbed the mountain and saw a house. In that house lived the tiger, but at that moment he wasn’t there, but it was his wife inside and she was cooking. He entered the house and when the tigress saw him, she said:

- What are you doing here? Run away because my husband is coming and he will eat you. But the boy didn’t move.

When the time to put the bread in the oven, the tigress didn’t know how to use it and she always burnt the bread. The boy helped her how to use the ember so that she wouldn’t burn the bread. She was so happy and felt sorry about the boy because her husband would eat him if he saw him in his house.

She brought him the meal and then hid him in the closet. When the tiger came home, he noticed that she hadn’t burnt the bread and asked:

Why didn’t you cook today?

No, I’ve cooked. –she said.

But you always get burnt, how come you’re okay today?! –the tiger said.

And she answered: - I’ve learned something new today how not to get burnt. Tell me, what would you do to the man who taught me how to do this, if he were here?

The tiger said he would make him his brother. After she heard these words, she took the boy out of the closet, and when the tiger saw him, he gave the boy a hug and they became good friends. The boy told him why he got there in his house and the tiger said:

This bird is not here, but I have a brother who is very old and cannot see. You’ll go there and tell him I’ve sent you. He left the tiger’s house and went to his brother’s. When he got there, he asked the old tiger about the Nightingale and he said:

The bird you are looking for is not here, and you’d better get back because further you’ll find only wild beasts, and even me that I’m their king don’t ever go there.

The boy wasn’t scared of these words and moved on his own way. Three harpies showed up in front of him and they were ready to rip him off, but he took out his sword and cut the first one’s arm and the second’s leg and he third’s crook.

He left and saw another house where an old woman lived, so he went in there. When the old woman saw him, she told him to go away, because her daughters would kill him, but he didn’t leave. Then she closed him into a coffer and made a hole so that he could see, and when the three harpies he had cut before came in the house, they bathed and turned into humans.

They told their mother they smelled human scent, but she convinced them not to hurt the boy, then she took him out of the coffer.

When they saw him, they were very happy that he was the boy who stabbed them, and after he told them why he had come there, they told him:

We know where the Half Nightingale is, but if we get you there, then you’ll have to stay here three months and each month you’ll sleep with each of us.

The boy had to do that, and when the three months passed, they took him to the Beauty’s palace because the Half Nightingale lived there. But there were five hundred guardsmen too watching over the palace, the wolf was guarding at the street-gate, the tiger was at the second door and the lion at the door of the room. They let him inside secretly when they were sleeping when all the people were sleeping, so the boy took the Nightingale and nobody saw him. When he was leaving, everybody woke up, but the harpies took him and disappeared at once. He stayed at them for a while, then he got back to the place where he had parted from his brothers, and he found the rings they had left there. Then he went to meet them and the three of them turned back home. On their way back, they got thirsty and they saw a well, but it didn’t have a bucket, so they told the youngest brother to go inside and get some water.

When the boy overhung to go down the well, they cut the rope, took the Nightingale and went to their father. When he asked them about their brother, they said he was travelling around the world and didn’t even try to find the Half Nightingale.

But the Beauty went to the palace and asked for the boy who took the Nightingale. The oldest brother appeared and she asked him where he found it and he said the first place that crossed his mind. But she knew he was lying and ordered her soldiers to beat him hard. When the other brother heard that they have beaten his brother and were going to ruin the palace, he told his father the truth. They took the youngest brother out of the well and the Beauty asked him:

Tell me, you brave man, where did you find the Half Nightingale. He told her the truth, how he had gone with the harpies to her palace and how he had taken the unique bird. So the mosque became the most wonderful one in the world and the youngest bother married the Beauty, and they have lived happily hitherto.