It was love at first sight. There she was, in the flower garden, at the rose bush surrounded by her sisters – the truly fairest of them all. He had never seen anything so wonderful, so resplendent in his life. Of all the flowers the Nightingale had admired before, they paled in comparison with the exquisite beauty of the Rose. And the more he looked at her, the stronger his love became. The deep and yet delicate purple of her almost translucent petals, the perfectly shaped head resting on a slender neck-like stem, the intoxicatingly delicious fragrance with which she filled the air around her, drew him in with irresistible force.
Every time the Nightingale tried to approach the Rose, the numerous and sharp thorns would prevent him from reaching her. So, he hovered above, hoping to attract her attention somehow. All day long his thirsty, insatiable eyes drank the overflow of her beauty, never seeming to get the fill of it. At night the Nightingale would sing the best he could. In these songs, he told the Rose how much he loved her; he begged her for an answer and asked her to fly away with him. They were songs of joy and sadness, hope and despair, longing and surrender, the heart-breaking songs of unrequited love.
But the Rose always remained silent. She never even looked at the Nightingale. During the day, her beautiful head was turned toward the Sun and at night, she would close her petals and sleep. Was she in love with the Sun? Was she dreaming about him in her sleep? Was she listening to the Nightingale singing? There was no way of knowing. How could one guess what the silence truly means? It could mean anything or nothing.
In desperation, the Nightingale would lament his misfortune to other birds, complaining about the total indifference and disregard the Rose had shown for him.
“You should forget her,” they would tell him. “Sure, she is a beauty. But there are other flowers around you, just as beautiful as she is. If only you weren’t blinded by your love for the Rose, you would be able to see them. And some surely would respond to your enchanting singing.”
“Oh, no!” protested the Nightingale. “It is you who are blind if you cannot see how incomparably superior she is to all other flowers. After seeing her, I can’t look at anyone else. It is either her or nobody. Perhaps I am not as good a singer as you say. If only I could learn to sing better, if only I could come up with better songs, she would finally hear me. But now I don’t even know if she is listening to me or not.”