The three little birds



About a thousand or more years ago, there were in this country nothing but small kings, and one of them who lived on the Keuterberg was very fond of hunting. Once on a time when he was riding forth from his castle with his huntsmen, three girls were watching their cows upon the mountain, and when they saw the King with all his followers, the eldest girl pointed to him, and called to the two other girls, "If I do not get that one, I will have none." Then the second girl answered from the other side of the hill, and pointed to the one who was on the King's right hand, "Hilloa! hilloa! If I do not get him, I will have no one." These, however, were the two ministers. The King heard all this, and when he had come back from the chase, he caused the three girls to be brought to him, and asked them what they had said yesterday on the mountain. This they would not tell him, so the King asked the eldest if she really would take him for her husband? Then she said, "Yes," and the two ministers married the two sisters, for they were all three fair and beautiful of face, especially the Queen, who had hair like flax. But the two sisters had no children, and once when the King was obliged to go from home he invited them to come to the Queen in order to cheer her, for she was about to bear a child. She had a little boy who brought a bright red star into the world with him. Then the two sisters said to each other that they would throw the beautiful boy into the water. When they had thrown him in (I believe it was into the Weser) a little bird flew up into the air, which sang ,
"To thy death art thou sped,
Until God's word be said.
In the white lily bloom,
Brave boy, is thy tomb."
When the two heard that, they were frightened to death, and ran away in great haste. When the King came home they told him that the Queen had been delivered of a dog. Then the King said, "What God does, is well done!" But a fisherman who dwelt near the water fished the little boy out again while he was still alive, and as his wife had no children, they reared him. When a year had gone by, the King again went away, and the Queen had another little boy, whom the false sisters likewise took and threw into the water. Then up flew a little bird again and sang,
"To thy death art thou sped,
Until God's word be said.
In the white lily bloom,
Brave boy, is thy tomb."
And when the King came back, they told him that the Queen had once more given birth to a dog, and he again said, "What God does, is well done." The fisherman, however, fished this one also out of the water, and reared him.
Then the King again journeyed forth, and the Queen had a little girl, whom also the false sisters threw into the water. Then again a little bird flew up on high and sang,

"To thy death art thou sped
Until God's word be said.
In the white lily bloom,
Bonny girl, is thy tomb."
And when the King came home they told him that the Queen had been delivered of a cat. Then the King grew angry, and ordered his wife to be cast into prison, and therein was she shut up for many long years.
In the meantime the children had grown up. Then eldest once went out with some other boys to fish, but the other boys would not have him with them, and said, "Go thy way, foundling."

Hereupon he was much troubled, and asked the old fisherman if that was true? The fisherman told him that once when he was fishing he had drawn him out of the water. So the boy said he would go forth and seek his father. The fisherman, however, entreated him to stay, but he would not let himself be hindered, and at last the fisherman consented. Then the boy went on his way and walked for many days, and at last he came to a great piece of water by the side of which stood an old woman fishing. "Good day, mother," said the boy.

"Many thanks," said she.

"Thou wilt fish long enough before thou catchest anything."

"And thou wilt seek long enough before thou findest thy father. How wilt thou get over the water?" said the woman.

"God knows."

Then the old woman took him up on her back and carried him through it, and he sought for a long time, but could not find his father.

When a year had gone by, the second boy set out to seek his brother. He came to the water, and all fared with him just as with his brother. And now there was no one at home but the daughter, and she mourned for her brothers so much that at last she also begged the fisherman to let her set forth, for she wished to go in search of her brothers. Then she likewise came to the great piece of water, and she said to the old woman, "Good day, mother."

"Many thanks," replied the old woman.

"May God help you with your fishing," said the maiden. When the old woman heard that, she became quite friendly, and carried her over the water, gave her a wand, and said to her, "Go, my daughter, ever onwards by this road, and when you come to a great black dog, you must pass it silently and boldly, without either laughing or looking at it. Then you will come to a great high castle, on the threshold of which you must let the wand fall, and go straight through the castle, and out again on the other side. There you will see an old fountain out of which a large tree has grown, whereon hangs a bird in a cage which you must take down. Take likewise a glass of water out of the fountain, and with these two things go back by the same way. Pick up the wand again from the threshold and take it with you, and when you again pass by the dog, strike him in the face with it, but be sure that you hit him, and then just come back here to me." The maiden found everything exactly as the old woman had said, and on her way back she found her two brothers who had sought each other over half the world. They went together to the place where the black dog was lying on the road; she struck it in the face, and it turned into a handsome prince who went with them to the river. There the old woman was still standing. She rejoiced much to see them again, and carried them all over the water, and then she too went away, for now she was freed. The others, however, went to the old fisherman, and all were glad that they had found each other again, but they hung the bird on the wall.

But the second son could not settle at home, and took his cross-bow and went a-hunting. When he was tired he took his flute, and made music. The King was hunting too, and heard that and went thither, and when he met the youth, he said, "Who has given thee leave to hunt here?"

"Oh, no one."

"To whom dost thou belong, then?"

"I am the fisherman's son."

"But he has no children."

"If thou wilt not believe, come with me."

That the King did, and questioned the fisherman, who told everything to him, and the little bird on the wall began to sing,

"The mother sits alone
There in the prison small,
O King of royal blood,
These are thy children all.
The sisters twain so false,
They wrought the children woe,
There in the waters deep
Where the fishermen come and go."
Then they were all terrified, and the King took the bird, the fisherman and the three children back with him to the castle, and ordered the prison to be opened and brought his wife out again. She had, however, grown quite ill and weak. Then the daughter gave her some of the water of the fountain to drink, and she became strong and healthy. But the two false sisters were burnt, and the daughter married the prince.
大约一千多年以前,在这个地方住着一些小国的国王。 其中一个国王住在科特堡山上,他非常喜欢打猎。 有一次,他带着他的猎手们走出城堡。 这时,有三个少女在山脚下放牛,当这三个少女看见国王和他的侍从时,最年长的少女指着国王对另两个大声说:"喂!喂!除了他,我谁都不嫁。"第二位姑娘指着国王右边的那位,从山的另一边大声答话:"喂!喂!除了那一位,我谁都不嫁。"这时,最小的少女指着国王左边的那位大声说:"喂!喂!除了他,我谁都不嫁。"其实,那两位都是大臣。 她们的话全被国王听见了,他打猎回来就派人把那三个少女叫到自己跟前,问她们昨天在山脚下说了些什么。 她们现在却不愿意说了,于是国王就问年纪最大的少女,她是不是想让他成为她的丈夫,她回答说:是的。 然后,两位大臣娶了另外两个少女,因为她们三个都长得很漂亮,尤其是做王后的那位,有着一头亚麻色的秀发。
那两位妹妹都没有孩子。 一天,当国王不得不出门的时候,为了让王后高兴,他就请王后的妹妹来陪她,因为王后正赶上怀孕。 后来,王后生了一个男孩,他身上带着一颗鲜红的痣。 两个妹妹密谋要把那可爱的男孩扔进河里。 当她们刚把他扔下河--我想这是条叫威瑟的河,一只小鸟飞到空中,唱道:
变成百合花吧。 "
两个姨妈听到后,怕得要死,就急忙跑开了。 国王回来后,她们对他说,王后生了只狗。 国王就说:"这恐怕是命中注定的。"可是,住在河那边的一个渔夫把那个男孩捞了起来,当时他还有一口气。 渔夫和妻子没有孩子,就收养了他。 一年后,国王又出远门了,恰巧这时王后又生下一个男孩,那两个凶狠的妹妹又抱走孩子并扔到了河里。 一只小鸟又飞到空中唱道:
变成百合花吧。 "
国王回来时,她们对他说,王后又生了一只狗。 国王还是回答:"这恐怕是命中注定的。"那渔夫又把男孩捞起来,并带回家去抚养了。
不久,国王又出门去了。 这次王后生了个女儿,她也被那两个狠心的姨妈扔进了河里。 小鸟又飞到空中唱道:
变成玫瑰花吧。 "
国王回家时,她们对他说,王后这次生了只猫。 国王终于生气了,命令把他的妻子关到监狱里去。 王后在狱中呆了很久。
这些孩子们长大了。 一次,老大跟其他几个男孩去捕鱼,他们不愿让他一起去,还说:"你这个捡来的孩子,走一边去。"
他十分伤心,就去问老渔夫是不是真的。 老渔夫告诉他,他是有一次打鱼时,他把他从水里捞出来的。 男孩说,那他要去找他的亲生父亲。 渔夫请求他留下,他坚决不肯。 最后,渔夫同意了他的要求,他便出发了。 走了几天几夜,最后来到一条大河边,河边站着一位老太太在钓鱼。
"你大概也要寻找很长很长时间,才能找到你的父亲。你打算怎样过这条河呢?""只有上帝才知道。"于是,老太太把他驮在背上,带他过了河。 他找了很久很久,也没有找到他的父亲。
一年以后,第二个男孩也离家去寻找他的哥哥了。 他来到河边,遭遇跟他哥哥一样。 现在只剩下小女孩一人在家,她非常想念她的哥哥,最后她请求老渔夫让她出门去寻找哥哥。 她也来到了那条大河边,对老太太说:"你好,大妈。""谢谢。"
"上帝保佑你钓到大鱼。"女孩说。 老太太一听到这话,就变得很和蔼,背她过了河,还给了她一根魔杖,并对她说:"就沿着这条路往前走吧,孩子。当你走过一条大黑狗时,千万别出声,不要笑也不要看它,要一直走过去。然后,你就来到一座敞开着大门的城堡前,站在门槛上,你一定要放下魔杖,径直穿过城堡,从那一边出去。那儿有一口老井,井底长出一棵树,树上挂着一个鸟笼,里面关着一只鸟。你要取下鸟笼,并从井里取一杯水,然后,就带着这两样东西原路返回。再从门槛捡起那根魔杖并拿在手上。当你再次经过那条狗时,一定要抽打它的脸,当心一定要打着它。然后就到我这儿来。"小女孩果然找到了老太太所说的一切。 在回来的路上,她找到了她那两个哥哥,他们俩互相寻找,走了大半个世界。 他们一起往前走,到了黑狗躺着的路边。 女孩用魔杖抽打它的脸,它就变成了一位英俊的王子,并同他们一起来到河边。 老太太还站在那里,她很高兴再次见到他们,并把他们都背过了河。 然后,她就离去了,因为这下她也自由了。 其他人都到老渔夫家去,当他们再次见面时,都非常高兴。 他们把那只鸟笼挂到墙上。
但是,第二个儿子在家呆不住,拿着弓箭去打猎了。 当他累了,就拿出笛子吹上一曲。 国王也在打猎,听见笛声就朝年青人那边走去。 他看见年青人时便问:"谁容许你在这儿打猎?"
国王跟着去了,问渔夫是怎么回事。 渔夫告诉了他所有发生的事,这时墙上的小鸟开始唱了起来:
是渔夫把他们救起。 "
所有的人都大吃一惊。 国王带上小鸟、渔夫和三个孩子回到城堡,下令打开牢门,把妻子接出来。 当时王后已虚弱不堪了,女儿将从井里取来的水让她喝了,她就重新容光焕发并恢复了健康。 两个狠毒的姨妈被烧死了,女儿嫁给了那个王子。

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