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This story is "Find-birdie" by the Brothers Grimm, translated into english by L L Weedon, in about 1900. To download an mp3 audio file of this classic children's fairy tale use the download button.

The story lasts 4 minutes 47 seconds


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Find Birdie

by the Brothers Grimm


There was once a forester who went into the wood one day to hunt, and there he heard a sound of weeping, like a little child in distress. He followed the sounds until he came to a tall tree, and upon the topmost branch he spied a little child. 

The little one's mother had fallen asleep beneath the tree with the baby in her arms, and a bird of prey had snatched it from her and carried it up into the
branches. The forester soon climbed up and brought the child down, and said
to himself,

"I will take him home with me, and bring him up with my little Lena."

So he took him home, and the two children grew up together. The forester named the little foundling "Find-birdie," because he had found him upon the tall tree and because it was a bird that had placed him there. Find-birdie and Lena loved each other so dearly that they could not bear to be parted for a moment.

Now, the forester had an old cook, and one evening she went to and fro, filling her pails with water, till at length Lena asked what she wanted it for.

"First promise me that you will not tell anyone, and then you shall hear," answered the cook. So Lena promised, and the cook said,

"Tomorrow morning when the forester has gone to hunt I shall set this water
upon the fire in a great big pot, and as won as it begins to boil I shall throw
Find-birdie in and cook him!"

The next morning when the forester had gone to hunt, Lena said to Find-birdie, 

"If you will never forsake me, then I will never forsake you."

And Find-birdie answered, 

"Never, never will I forsake you, Lena."

"Then I will tell you something," said Lena. "Last night old Sanna carried in ever so many buckets of water, and when I asked her why, she told me that she meant to boil a great pot of water and throw you into it and cook you. But we will get up quickly and dress ourselves, and run away together."

So the two children got up, dressed themselves as quickly as they could, and ran away.

As soon as the water in the pot began to boil the cook went into the bedroom to fetch Find-birdie. When she saw that both children were gone she was terribly afraid, for she said to herself,

"What can I say when the forester comes home and finds the children gone? I must send after them, and try and bring them back."

So the cook sent three men servants after them, but Lena and Findbirdie were sitting beside the opening to the wood, and saw the men coming, and Lena said,

"If you will never forsake me, then I will never forsake you."

And Find-birdie answered, 

"Never, never will I forsake you, Lena."

Then said Lena, 

"Do you become a rose tree, and I will be the rose upon it."

When the servants reached the wood there was nothing to be seen but a rose tree with a little rose upon it, and the children had disappeared. So they went home and told the cook that they had seen nothing but a rose bush with a little rose upon it. The old cook scolded them well.

"You simpletons!" she said, "you should have cut the rose tree in two, plucked the rose, and brought it home with you. Off with you and do it!"

So the servants had to set out again, but the children saw them coming, and Lena said,

"Find-birdie, if you will never forsake me, I will forsake you."

And Find-birdie answered, 

"Never, never will I forsake you."

Then said Lena, 

"Be a church, and 1 will be a golden candlestick within it."

And when the servants came there was nothing to be seen but a church with a golden candlestick in it. So they went home again. But when they told the cook they had seen nothing but a church with a golden candlestick in it, she said,

"You sillies! you should have broken down the church and brought home the candlestick."

So now the old cook set out herself with the three servants to find the children. The little ones soon saw the servants coming, with the old cook hobbling along behind, and Lena said,

"Find-birdie, if you will never forsake me, I will never forsake you."

And Find-birdie answered,

"Never, never will I forsake you."

"Then be a pond," said Lena, "and I will be a duck swimming upon it."

When the cook came up she laid herself down and set to work to try and drink up the pond, but the duck swam up to her, seized her head in its beak, and pulled her into the water, and so the old witch was drowned.

And then the two children went home together, and were as happy
as the day is long, and if they are not dead, they are alive to this very hour.
 


   
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