The Village of the Nightingales
Long ago, there was a woodcutter who made a living by gathering lumber from the forest. One day as he walked through the forest, a mysterious fog appeared and he lost his way. After the fog cleared, the woodcutter saw a big mansion and went inside. He saw a beautiful woman who turned out to be the owner of the house. The woodcutter asked if he could rest there awhile. The woman said she needed to go into town and said he could stay, but requested that he not go into any of the rooms. After the woodcutter promised that he would not go further into the house, the woman left.
As he sat there, it seemed like time stood still – everything was quiet and even the air did not move. After a while, the woodcutter decided he wanted to know more about the house and broke his promise. He peeked into one of the rooms where he saw three girls cleaning. When the girls saw him, they ran away.
The woodcutter became even more curious about the house, and headed into the second room, which appeared to be a tea room. The third room was filled with bows, arrows, and other tools of war. The woodcutter started to get scared and wondered what kind of place this was, but continued further into the house. The fourth room was a stable with horses. The fifth room had a feast of luxurious dishes. In the sixth room, there was a fountain of flowing sake. The woodcutter loved sake and poured himself a cup. With one drink, the sake warmed his whole body. He drank until he could not walk straight and then stumbled into the seventh room. It had the scent of flowers and in the center was a bird’s nest with three small eggs in it. The woodcutter moved over to get closer look, but he was drunk and knocked over the nest. The three eggs broke and instantly turned into fully-grown birds, which then flew away.
When the woman returned and saw the broken egg shells, she started to cry. The woodcutter was ashamed and apologized for breaking his promise. The woman thought he was a good person, and asked why humans are such liars. The woman revealed that she was the avatar of nightingales and she must return to the Village of Nightingales. As she said this, she transformed into a great bird and the house disintegrated into the air. In a matter of moments, it was like the house had never existed. The woodcutter was left standing alone in the middle of a mountain field, listening to the sad cries of nightingales.