“The Foundling Bird”
One day a mother sat under a tree with her baby and fell asleep. A bird grabbed the baby, but after hearing a gunshot had dropped it in the higher branches. The mother woke and ran off looking for her baby.
The hunter heard the baby, rescued it, and decided to take it home with him to raise with his daughter Lena. He named the baby Birdie.
Lena and Birdie were the best of friends, but the hunter’s cook didn’t like Birdie. One day, Lena saw her carrying in a bunch of water and asked what she was doing. The cook said that the next day she was going to boil the water and throw Birdie in it to cook for dinner.
So Lena told Birdie and they ran away before the cook could get Birdie. The cook wondered what the hunter would say when he came home and the children weren’t there (wasn’t the plan to kill one of them?) so she sent some servants to find them.
The girls saw the servants coming, so they changed into a rose tree and a rose. When the servants went back home, the cook told them they should have cut off some of the stems and the roses and brought them back.
The servants went out again and the girls changed themselves into a church and steeple. When the servants didn’t bring those back, the cook vowed to go with them the third time.
The third time, the girls transformed into a pond and a duck. When the cook saw the pond, she bent down to drink it all up, but the duck grabbed her hair and held her under until she drowned.
And they lived happily ever after.
I guess the mother eventually just gave up looking?
Okay, I haven’t put much thought into this, but I’m assuming boiling a child alive is probably not the quietest or most subtle way to kill them. And then serving them for dinner? The story’s reasoning is as follows: “… the forester had an old cook, who was not fond of children, and she wanted to get rid of Birdie, who she thought was an intruder.” That’s it. That was enough to provoke child murder and cannibalism.
Also, shouldn’t the cook – living in the same household after all – have known that Lena and Birdie were friends? So why tell Lena that she was going to kill her best friend and serve her for dinner?
What’s more amazing, the kids were able to transform into amazing things, or that the cook was – apparently – able to know what they had transformed into from a distance?
That’s not something you see that often: death by duck.