Der var engang en skovfoged, som gik på jagt, og da han kom ind i skoven syntes han, at han hørte et barn græde. Han gik efter lyden og kom til et højt træ, hvor der helt oppe i toppen sad et lille barn. Da moderen sad med det under træet, var hun faldet i søvn, og en rovfugl havde taget det og var fløjet med det op i træet.
Skovfogeden klatrede derop, bar barnet ned og tænkte: "Jeg tager det lille barn med hjem og opdrager ham sammen med min lille Lene." Fordi han var blevet fundet oppe i et træ blev han kaldt Findefugl. De to børn voksede nu op sammen og kom til at holde så meget af hinanden, at de slet ikke kunne undvære hinanden.
Skovfogeden havde en gammel kokkepige, som var en heks. En aften havde hun meget travlt med at hente vand ind i køkkenet og gik mange gange ud til brønden og fyldte sine spande. "Hvad vil du dog med alt det vand, Susanne," spurgte Lene. "Hvis du vil love mig ikke at sige det til nogen, skal jeg fortælle dig det," svarede pigen. Lene lovede det og hun sagde så: "I morgen tidlig, når skovfogeden er på jagt, vil jeg koge Findefugl deri."
Næste morgen stod skovfogeden meget tidlig op og gik på jagt. Børnene lå endnu i seng, og Lene sagde da til Findefugl: "Lover du mig aldrig at forlade mig, forlader jeg heller aldrig dig." Og da Findefugl lovede det, sagde hun: "Så skal jeg fortælle dig, at den gamle kokkepige i går aftes sagde mig, at hun i dag ville smide dig i gryden og koge dig. Lad os skynde os at stå op og løbe vores vej."
Derpå stod begge børnene op, klædte sig hurtigt på og løb bort. Da vandet kogte i kedlen, gik kokkepigen ind i sovekammeret for at hente Findefugl, men børnene var borte. Da blev hun bange og tænkte: "Hvad skal jeg sige, når skovfogeden kommer hjem. Jeg må se at få fat i dem."
Hun sendte nu tre karle af sted for at indhente børnene. De sad udenfor skoven, og da de så de tre mænd komme løbende, sagde Lene til Findefugl: "Lover du mig aldrig at forlade mig, så forlader jeg heller aldrig dig." Findefugl lovede det, og Lene sagde: "Bliv du til en rosenbusk så bliver jeg en rose." Da de tre karle kom ud af skoven, så de ikke andet end en rosenbusk. "Her er ingen ting," tænkte de, og gik hjem og sagde til kokkepigen, at de havde ikke fundet andet end en rosenbusk. "I tossehoveder," skændte hun, "I skulle naturligvis have hugget busken om og bragt den med hjem. Skynd jer ud og gør det." De måtte nu af sted igen, og da børnene så dem komme, sagde Lene: "Lover du mig aldrig at forlade mig, så forlader jeg heller aldrig dig." Findefugl lovede det, og Lene sagde: "Bliv du til en kirke, så bliver jeg lysekronen deri." Da de tre karle kom derhen, så de ikke andet end en kirke. "Vi kan alligevel ikke gøre noget," sagde de, "lad os hellere gå hjem." Da kokkepigen spurgte, om de ikke havde fundet noget, sagde de, at de bare havde set en kirke med en lysekrone i. "I fæhoveder," sagde hun vredt, "I skulle naturligvis have revet kirken ned og bragt kronen med hjem." Hun fulgte nu selv med karlene, og da børnene så hende komme rokkende, sagde Lene: "Lover du mig aldrig at forlade mig, forlader jeg heller aldrig dig." Findefugl lovede det, og Lene sagde: "Bliv så du til en dam, så bliver jeg en and, som svømmer på vandet." Da kokkepigen kom hen til dammen, lagde hun sig på maven og ville drikke den ud. Men anden tog fat med næbbet i hendes hår og trak hende ned i vandet, så hun druknede. Nu gik børnene glade hjem, og hvis de ikke er døde, lever de endnu.
There was once a forester who went into the forest to hunt, and as he entered it he heard a sound of screaming as if a little child were there. He followed the sound, and at last came to a high tree, and at the top of this a little child was sitting, for the mother had fallen asleep under the tree with the child, and a bird of prey had seen it in her arms, had flown down, snatched it away, and set it on the high tree.
The forester climbed up, brought the child down, and thought to himself, "Thou wilt take him home with thee, and bring him up with thy Lina." He took it home, therefore, and the two children grew up together. The one, however, which he had found on a tree was called Fundevogel, because a bird had carried it away. Fundevogel and Lina loved each other so dearly that when they did not see each other they were sad.
The forester, however, had an old cook, who one evening took two pails and began to fetch water, and did not go once only, but many times, out to the spring. Lina saw this and said, "Hark you, old Sanna, why are you fetching so much water?" - "If thou wilt never repeat it to anyone, I will tell thee why." So Lina said, no, she would never repeat it to anyone, and then the cook said, "Early to-morrow morning, when the forester is out hunting, I will heat the water, and when it is boiling in the kettle, I will throw in Fundevogel, and will boil him in it."
Betimes next morning the forester got up and went out hunting, and when he was gone the children were still in bed. Then Lina said to Fundevogel, "If thou wilt never leave me, I too will never leave thee." Fundevogel said, "Neither now, nor ever will I leave thee." Then said Lina, "Then I will tell thee. Last night, old Sanna carried so many buckets of water into the house that I asked her why she was doing that, and she said that if I would promise not to tell any one she would tell me, and I said I would be sure not to tell any one, and she said that early to-morrow morning when father was out hunting, she would set the kettle full of water, throw thee into it and boil thee; but we will get up quickly, dress ourselves, and go away together."
The two children therefore got up, dressed themselves quickly, and went away. When the water in the kettle was boiling, the cook went into the bed-room to fetch Fundevogel and throw him into it. But when she came in, and went to the beds, both the children were gone. Then she was terribly alarmed, and she said to herself, "What shall I say now when the forester comes home and sees that the children are gone? They must be followed instantly to get them back again."
Then the cook sent three servants after them, who were to run and overtake the children. The children, however, were sitting outside the forest, and when they saw from afar the three servants running, Lina said to Fundevogel, "Never leave me, and I will never leave thee." Fundevogel said, "Neither now, nor ever." Then said Lina, "Do thou become a rose-tree, and I the rose upon it." When the three servants came to the forest, nothing was there but a rose-tree and one rose on it, but the children were nowhere. Then said they, "There is nothing to be done here," and they went home and told the cook that they had seen nothing in the forest but a little rose-bush with one rose on it. Then the old cook scolded and said, "You simpletons, you should have cut the rose-bush in two, and have broken off the rose and brought it home with you; go, and do it once." They had therefore to go out and look for the second time. The children, however, saw them coming from a distance. Then Lina said, "Fundevogel, never leave me, and I will never leave thee." Fundevogel said, "Neither now, nor ever." Said Lina, "Then do thou become a church, and I'll be the chandelier in it." So when the three servants came, nothing was there but a church, with a chandelier in it. They said therefore to each other, "What can we do here, let us go home." When they got home, the cook asked if they had not found them; so they said no, they had found nothing but a church, and that there was a chandelier in it. And the cook scolded them and said, "You fools! why did you not pull the church to pieces, and bring the chandelier home with you?" And now the old cook herself got on her legs, and went with the three servants in pursuit of the children. The children, however, saw from afar that the three servants were coming, and the cook waddling after them. Then said Lina, "Fundevogel, never leave me, and I will never leave thee." Then said Fundevogel, "Neither now, nor ever." Said Lina, "Be a fishpond, and I will be the duck upon it." The cook, however, came up to them, and when she saw the pond she lay down by it, and was about to drink it up. But the duck swam quickly to her, seized her head in its beak and drew her into the water, and there the old witch had to drown. Then the children went home together, and were heartily delighted, and if they are not dead, they are living still.