Grimms' Fairy Tales

  • THE GOLDEN BIRD

  • Narrator

    A certain king had a beautiful garden, and in the garden stood a tree which bore golden apples.

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  • These apples were always counted, and about the time when they began to grow ripe it was found that every night one of them was gone.

  • The king became very angry at this, and ordered the gardener to keep watch all night under the tree.

  • Narrator

    The gardener set his eldest son to watch; but about twelve o"clock he fell asleep, and in the morning another of the apples was missing.

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  • Then the second son was ordered to watch; and at midnight he too fell asleep, and in the morning another apple was gone.

  • Then the third son offered to keep watch; but the gardener at first would not let him, for fear some harm should come to him: however, at last he consented, and the young man laid himself under the tree to watch.

  • As the clock struck twelve he heard a rustling noise in the air, and a bird came flying that was of pure gold; and as it was snapping at one of the apples with its beak, the gardener"s son jumped up and shot an arrow at it.

  • Narrator

    But the arrow did the bird no harm; only it dropped a golden feather from its tail, and then flew away.

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  • The golden feather was brought to the king in the morning, and all the council was called together.

  • Everyone agreed that it was worth more than all the wealth of the kingdom: but the king said,

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    King

    β€œOne feather is of no use to me, I must have the whole bird.”

  • Narrator

    Then the gardener's eldest son set out and thought to find the golden bird very easily; and when he had gone but a little way, he came to a wood, and by the side of the wood he saw a fox sitting; so he took his bow and made ready to shoot at it.

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  • Then the fox said,

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    Fox

    β€œDo not shoot me, for I will give you good counsel; I know what your business is, and that you want to find the golden bird.

  • You will reach a village in the evening; and when you get there, you will see two inns opposite to each other, one of which is very pleasant and beautiful to look at: go not in there, but rest for the night in the other, though it may appear to you to be very poor and mean.”

  • Narrator

    But the son thought to himself,

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    Youngest Son

    β€œWhat can such a beast as this know about the matter?”

  • Narrator

    So he shot his arrow at the fox; but he missed it, and it set up its tail above its back and ran into the wood.

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  • Then he went his way, and in the evening came to the village where the two inns were; and in one of these were people singing, and dancing, and feasting; but the other looked very dirty, and poor.