here was once a forester, who went into the forest to hunt. When he entered it, he heard a screaming as if a little child was there.
He followed the sound, and at last came to a high tree. In the top of it a little child was sitting. His mother had fallen asleep under the tree with the child, and a bird of prey had seen him in her arms, flown down, and snatched him away, and set him on the high tree.
The forester climbed the tree, and brought the child down. And he thought to himself, “I will take him home, and bring him up with my Lina.”
He took him home, and the two children grew up together. The one he had found in a tree, he called Bird-Found, because a bird had carried it away.
Bird-Found 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?”
Then the cook said, “Early to-morrow morning, when the forester is out hunting, I will heat the water. When it is boiling in the kettle, I will throw in Bird-Found, 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 Bird-Found, “If you will never leave me, I will never leave you.”
Bird-Found said, “Neither now, nor ever, will I leave you.”
Then said Lina, “I will tell you. Last night, old Sanna carried so many buckets of water into the house that I asked her why she was doing so. She said that early to-morrow morning, when Father was out hunting, she would set on the kettle full of water, throw you into it and boil you. 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 came into the bedroom to fetch Bird-Found and throw him into it. But when she came in, and went to the beds, both the children were gone.
Then she was terribly frightened, 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 and brought back.”
Then the cook sent three servants after them, who were to run and overtake the children.
Bird-Found said, “Neither now, nor ever.”
Then said Lina, “Do you 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; the children were nowhere. 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 at 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, “Bird-Found, never leave me, and I will never leave you.”
Bird-Found said, “Neither now, nor ever.”
Said Lina, “Then do you 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. They said no, they had found nothing but a church, and that there was a chandelier in it.
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 saw from afar that the three servants were coming, and the cook waddling after them.
Then said Lina, “Bird-Found, never leave me, and I will never leave you.”
Then said Bird-Found, “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, when she fell 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.