There was once a man who had seven sons, and still he had no daughter, however much he wished for one. At length his wife again gave him hope of a child, and when it came into the world it was a girl. The joy was great, but the child was sickly and small, and had to be privately baptized on account of its weakness. The father sent one of the boys in haste to the spring to fetch water for the baptism. The other six went with him, and as each of them wanted to be first to fill it, the jug fell into the well. There they stood and did not know what to do, and none of them dared to go home. As they still did not return, the father grew impatient, and said, "They have certainly forgotten it for some game, the wicked boys!" He became afraid that the girl would have to die without being baptized, and in his anger cried, "I wish the boys were all turned into ravens." Hardly was the word spoken before he heard a whirring of wings over his head in the air, looked up and saw seven coal-black ravens flying away.
The parents could not recall the curse, and however sad they were at the loss of their seven sons, they still to some extent comforted themselves with their dear little daughter, who soon grew strong and every day became more beautiful. For a long time she did not know that she had had brothers, for her parents were careful not to mention them before her, but one day she accidentally heard some people saying of herself, "that the girl was certainly beautiful, but that in reality she was to blame for the misfortune which had befallen her seven brothers." Then she was much troubled, and went to her father and mother and asked if it was true that she had had brothers, and what had become of them? The parents now dared keep the secret no longer, but said that what had befallen her brothers was the will of Heaven, and that her birth had only been the innocent cause. But the maiden took it to heart daily, and thought she must deliver her brothers. She had no rest or peace until she set out secretly, and went forth into the wide world to trace out her brothers and set them free, let it cost what it might. She took nothing with her but a little ring belonging to her parents as a keepsake, a loaf of bread against hunger, a little pitcher of water against thirst, and a little chair as a provision against weariness.
And now she went continually onwards, far, far to the very end of the world. Then she came to the sun, but it was too hot and terrible, and devoured little children. Hastily she ran away, and ran to the moon, but it was far too cold, and also awful and malicious, and when it saw the child, it said, "I smell, I smell the flesh of men." On this she ran swiftly away, and came to the stars, which were kind and good to her, and each of them sat on its own particular little chair. But the morning star arose, and gave her the drumstick of a chicken, and said, "If you thou hast not that drumstick thou canst not open the Glass mountain, and in the Glass mountain are thy brothers."
The maiden took the drumstick, wrapped it carefully in a cloth, and went onwards again until she came to the Glass mountain. The door was shut, and she thought she would take out the drumstick; but when she undid the cloth, it was empty, and she had lost the good star's present. What was she now to do? She wished to rescue her brothers, and had no key to the Glass mountain. The good sister took a knife, cut off one of her little fingers, put it in the door, and succeeded in opening it. When she had gone inside, a little dwarf came to meet her, who said, "My child, what are you looking for?" - "I am looking for my brothers, the seven ravens," she replied. The dwarf said, "The lord ravens are not at home, but if you will wait here until they come, step in." Thereupon the little dwarf carried the ravens' dinner in, on seven little plates, and in seven little glasses, and the little sister ate a morsel from each plate, and from each little glass she took a sip, but in the last little glass she dropped the ring which she had brought away with her.
Suddenly she heard a whirring of wings and a rushing through the air, and then the little dwarf said, "Now the lord ravens are flying home." Then they came, and wanted to eat and drink, and looked for their little plates and glasses. Then said one after the other, "Who has eaten something from my plate? Who has drunk out of my little glass? It was a human mouth." And when the seventh came to the bottom of the glass, the ring rolled against his mouth. Then he looked at it, and saw that it was a ring belonging to his father and mother, and said, "God grant that our sister may be here, and then we shall be free." When the maiden, who was standing behind the door watching, heard that wish, she came forth, and on this all the ravens were restored to their human form again. And they embraced and kissed each other, and went joyfully home.
父亲派了一个儿子要他赶快到井里去打点水来，其他六个一看，也一窝蜂似地跟了去，每一个都争先恐后地要第一个汲水，你争我夺之中，他们把大水罐给掉到井里去了。 这一下，他们可就傻眼了，你看看我，我看看你，痴呆呆地站在井边不知如何是好，都不敢回屋里去。 此时，父亲正心急火燎的地等着他们把水提来，见他们去了很久还没有回来，就说道："他们一定是闹着玩把这事给忘了。"他左等右等仍不见他们回来，气得大骂起来，说他们都该变成乌鸦。 话音刚落就听见头上一阵呱呱的叫声传来，他抬头一看，发现有七只煤炭一样的黑色乌鸦正在上面盘旋着。 看到自己的气话变成了现实，他后悔了，不知道该怎么办才好。 他失去了七个儿子，心里非常悲伤，好在小女儿在接受洗礼之后一天比一天强壮起来，而且越长越漂亮了，总算对他这个父亲有了一点安慰。
女儿慢慢长大了，她一直不知道自己曾经有过七个哥哥，爸爸和妈妈都很小心，从来不在她面前提起。 终于有一天，她偶然听到人们谈起有关她的事情，他们说："她的的确确很漂亮，但可惜的是她的七个哥哥却因为她的缘故而遭到不幸。"她听到这些后非常伤心，就去问自己的父母她是不是有哥哥，他们到底怎么样了。 父母亲不好再对她隐瞒事情的真象。 为了安慰她，他们说这一切都是上帝的意愿，她的出生降临都是上帝的安排，她是无罪的。 但小姑娘仍然为此吃不下饭，睡不好觉，天天伤痛不已，她暗下决心，一定要想方设法把自己的七个哥哥找回来。 有一天，她从家里偷偷地跑了出去，来到外面广阔的世界，到处寻访自己的哥哥。 她想：无论他们到了什么地方，她不惜自己的生命，也要让他们恢复本来面目，获得做人的自由！
出门的时候，她只带了爸爸妈妈以前送给她的一只小戒指，加上一块用来充饥的长条面包和一壶用来解渴的水，一张疲倦时用来休息的小凳子。 她走啊，找啊 ，不停地寻访着，一直找到遥远的天边，来到太阳面前。 但太阳太热太凶猛了，她急忙跑开，又来到月亮面前。 可月亮又太寒冷太冷酷，还说道："我闻到人肉和血腥味了！"她赶紧又跑到了星星那里。 星星对她很友好，很和气，每颗星都坐在他们自己的小凳子上。 当启明星站起来往上飞时，他给了小姑娘一片小木块，说道："如果你没有这片小木块，就不能打开玻璃山上那座城堡的门。你的哥哥正是住在那座城堡里。"小妹妹接过小木块，把它用布包好，告别星星，起程又继续寻找她的哥哥去了。
经过艰苦跋涉，她终于找到了玻璃山。 来到城门前一看，门是锁着的，她拿出布包解开，发现里面的小木块不见了，不知是什么时候自己把好心的启明星送的礼物失落了。 怎么办呢？ 她要救哥哥，可又没有了玻璃山城堡的钥匙。 这位坚定忠实的小妹妹一咬牙，从口袋里掏出一把小刀把自己的小指头切了下来，那指头的大小正好和失落的木块相同，她将指头插进门上的锁孔，门被打开了。
忽然，她听到空中传来了翅膀拍击的声音和呱呱的叫声，小矮人马上说道："我的主人们回来了。"她连忙躲到门后面，想听听他们会说些什么。 七只乌鸦一进来，就急于找自己的盘子和杯子想要吃东西喝水 ，他们一个接一个的叫道："谁吃了我盘子里的东西？谁把我杯子里的水喝了一点点？
第七只乌鸦喝完水，发现杯子里有一只戒指，他仔细一瞧，认出了这是他们父母亲的东西，就说道："嗳！我们的小妹妹来了！我们就会得救了。"小妹妹听到这里，马上跑了出来。 她一露面，七只乌鸦立即都恢复了他们的人形。 他们互相紧紧拥抱，亲吻，一起高高兴兴地回到了他们的爸爸妈妈的身边。