A young student falls in love with his professor's daughter, yet she will not dance with him unless he can offer her a beautiful red rose. He weeps and is overheard by a nightingale, which searches for a red rose to help the boy.
The nightingale is told that the only way to produce a red rose is to sing its most beautiful song while pressing its heart into the thorn of a rose. The nightingale offers its life in order to create a stunning red rose for the student.
He offers the rose to his love but she denies him, as its colour clashes with her dress and she has been offered precious jewels by the Chamberlain's son, which are of much greater value. The student loses his belief in love and throws the rose in a gutter in frustration, going on to return to his studies in metaphysics. The value of material wealth is contrasted against the innate beauty of selfless sacrifice in this heartrending allegory.
Surely Love is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than emeralds, and dearer than fine opals
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