On the occasion of Nero's 25th birthday, he arrived at the Colosseum
to find that the Praetorian Guard had prepared a treat for him in the arena.
There stood 25 naked virgins, like candles on a cake, tied to poles, burning
alive. "Wonderful!" exclaimed the deranged emperor, "but one of them isn't
dead yet. I can see her lips moving. Go quickly and find out what she is
The centurion saluted, and hurried out to the virgin, getting as near
the flames as he dared, and listened intently. Then he turned and ran back
to the imperial box. "She is not talking," he reported to Nero, "she is
"Singing?" said the astounded emperor. "Singing what?"
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you..."