从前，有一位林务员到森林里去狩猎。 他刚走进森林，就听见尖声的哭叫，好像不远处有个小孩儿。 他循着哭声往前走，最后来到一棵大树前，只见树上坐着一个小孩儿。 原来有位母亲带着小孩儿在一棵树下睡着了，一只老鹰发现了她怀里的小孩儿，就猛扑下来把小孩儿叼走了，放在了眼前这棵大树上。
林务员爬到树上，把小孩从树上接了下来，心里想："你就把这孩子带回家去吧，把他和你的小莉娜一块儿抚养成人。"他真的就把小孩儿带回家里，于是两个小家伙便一块儿成长。 他从树上捡回来的那个孩子，因为是被鸟叼走的，所以就起名叫鸟弃儿。 鸟弃儿和小莉娜相亲相爱，俩人只要不在一起，就会感到难过。
在护林人的家里，有个老厨娘。 一天傍晚，她提着两只桶去泉边打水，一连去了许多次。 小莉娜见了就问："老桑娜，你干吗打这么多的水？""要是你对谁也不说，我就告诉你。"小莉娜答应了她，老厨娘于是就说："明儿一大早，等林务员外出打猎去了，我就烧水；水烧开以后，我就把鸟弃儿扔进锅里煮了。"
第二天清早，林务员起身后就出去打猎了。 他走的时候，两个孩子还没起床。 小莉娜对鸟弃儿说："要是你永远不离开我，我也永远不离开你。"鸟弃儿回答说："我绝不会离开你。"于是，小莉娜就对他说："那么 ，我很情愿告诉你一件事。 昨天晚上，老桑娜提回来好多桶水，我问她提那么多水干什么，她说要是我保证对谁也不说就告诉我，我说我一定谁也不告诉，她才对我说，明天一大早，爸爸出去打猎的时候，她要烧一大锅水，把你扔进锅里煮了。 咱们可得快点儿起床，穿好衣服一快儿逃吧。 "
两个孩子于是下了床，飞快地穿好衣服，拔腿就跑了出去。 锅里的水烧开了，厨娘准备到卧室去把鸟弃儿抓来下锅。 可是当她走进卧室，来到床边一看，两个孩子全都逃走了，她不禁惊慌起来，自言自语道："等林务员回来发现两个孩子不见了，我可怎么交代呢？得赶快去追，把他们弄回来。"
说罢，老厨娘打发三个帮工去追赶他们。 两个孩子这时正坐在森林前面，远远地看见那三个帮工朝这边奔跑过来，小莉娜便对鸟弃儿说："你永远不要离开我，我也永远不离开你。"鸟弃儿回答说："永远不离开。"接着小莉娜说："你变成一棵玫瑰，我变成枝头上的一朵鲜花。"三个帮工追赶到森林跟前，只发现一棵玫瑰树和枝头上的一朵花儿，却不见两个孩子的踪影。 因此他们说道："这儿没啥可干的事。"说完就回去了，告诉厨娘说，他们在森林只发现了一棵玫瑰，枝头上还开了一朵花儿，再没看见别的什么。 老厨娘一听破口大骂："你们这群蠢猪！你们应该砍断那棵玫瑰树，摘下那朵花儿随身带回来才是。快去！赶快照我说的去做！"他们只好再次出去寻找。 可是，两个孩子老远看见他们又来了，小莉娜说："鸟弃儿，你永远不要离开我，我也永远不离开你。"鸟弃儿回答她说："永远不离开。"小莉娜于是说："那么你变成一座教堂，我变成里面的大吊灯。"三个帮工赶到时，只看见一座教堂和教堂里的大吊灯，于是他们异口同声地说："咱们在这儿能干啥呢？还是回去吧。"回去后，厨娘问他们是不是什么也没找到，他们说没有，但只发现了一座教堂，教堂里还有个大吊灯。 厨娘对着他们又是一通大骂："你们这帮笨蛋！你们为什么不把教堂拆了呢？为什么不把大吊灯随身带回来呢？"老厨娘这回亲自出马，带着三个帮工去追赶鸟弃儿和小莉娜。 可两个孩子远远就看见了三个帮工朝这边走来了，老厨娘一摇一摆地跟在后面。 见此情景，小莉娜说："鸟弃儿，你永远不要离开我，我也永远不离开你。"鸟弃儿回答说："永远不离开。"小莉娜又说："你变成鱼塘，我变成在水上游来游去的鸭子。"老厨娘终于赶了过来，她一见鱼塘就趴在了塘边上，打算把塘里的水喝干。 谁知那只鸭子很快游了过来，用嘴死死地咬住她的脑袋，把她拖进了水里，老巫婆就这样在鱼塘里淹死了。 然后，两个孩子一块儿回到了家里，心里有说不出的高兴。 要是他们俩没有去世，现在一定还活着呢。
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.