My Dad often tells me of a novel he read when he was younger which was about a princess who was either dying or ill - sounds very Snow White-esque! His favourite line of the book is where the blackbird in the novel had promised the world to help save this Princess and was asked 'would you sell your song?'. This line alone can bring a tear to his eye and it's all about everyone having their story to tell, a fable. It would mean the world to him if I could find this book for him, can anyone help?

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    You're selling your dad awfully cheaply.
    – John O
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 22:36
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    Sorry about the edit @JohnO, but here is the original title so people can still appreciate your joke (which is the first thing I thought, too): "I am looking for the title of a science fiction novel about a blackbird selling their song for my Dad" Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 22:44
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    I think this is a retelling of a Chinese fairy-tale that is used to explain why blackbirds "caw." If I remember correctly, The blackbird could sing, but the princess could not, so it sang to the prince while pretending to be the princess, but became hoarse and unable to sing thereafter, and could only "caw." The princess, now saved, somehow returns the favor - perhaps by enabling the bird to change color as a reward. Commented May 24, 2014 at 4:18

1 Answer 1


May not be the original source, but the story of the blackbirds selling their song to save a princess is told by a character in Shadowland by Peter Straub. Just checked it and it does include the line "Would you give up your song"?

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