Small rather drab birds of England and parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Noted for their exquisite song heard during the nights of late spring-early summer.
Originally the nightingale was Philomela, whose sister Procne was married to King Tereus. But Tereus fell in love with Philomela and pretended to her that Procne was dead. They enjoyed a passionate affair until Philomela discovered the truth. Tereus cut out her tounge so that she might not reveal it to others, but Philomela managed to find where Procne had been imprisoned by Tereus and to convey the story to her.
The two sisters planned a terrible revenge, by cooking Tereus' son Ithys and serving the king with roast boy for his dinner. When they did this, the gods were so horrified that they changed the two sisters, the king, and his son into different types of birds.
Philomela became the nightingale, forever singing the sad sweet song of Tereus' betrayal of her love.