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THE SEVEN RAVENS
HERE was once a man who had seven sons, but never a daughter
no matter how much he wished for one.
At length, his wife had a child, and it was a daughter.
The joy was great. But the child was sickly and small,
and so weak that it had to be baptized at once.
The father sent one of the boys in a hurry to the
spring, to fetch water for the baptism. The other six
boys ran along with him. And as each strove to be the
first to fill the jug, it fell into the spring. There
they stood, and did not know what to do. None of them
dared go home.
When they did not come back, the father grew impatient,
and said, "They have forgotten all about it in a game
of play, the wicked boys!"
Soon he grew afraid lest the child should die without
being baptized, and he cried out in anger, "I wish the
boys were all turned into Ravens!"
Hardly was the word spoken, before he heard a whirring
of wings in the air above his head. He looked up, and
saw seven coal-black Ravens flying high and away.
 The parents could not recall the curse. And though
they grieved over the loss of their seven sons, yet
they comforted themselves somewhat with their dear
little daughter, who soon grew strong and every day
For a long time, she did not know that she had had
brothers. Her parents were careful not to mention them
before her. But one day, she chanced to overhear some
people talking about her, and saying, "that the maiden
is certainly beautiful, but really to blame for the
misfortune of her seven brothers."
Then she was much troubled, and went to her father and
mother, and asked if it was true that she had had
brothers, and what was become of them.
The parents did not dare to keep the secret longer, and
said that her birth was only the innocent cause of what
had happened to her brothers. But the maiden laid it
daily to heart, and thought that she must deliver her
She had no peace and rest until she set out secretly,
and went forth into the wide world to seek them out,
and set them free, let it cost what it might. She took
nothing with her but a little ring belonging to her
parents as a keepsake, a loaf of bread against hunger,
a little pitcher of water against thirst, and a little
chair as a provision against weariness.
And now, she went continually onward, far, far, to the
very end of the world. Then she came to the Sun, but
it was too hot and terrible, and devoured little
children. Hastily she ran away, and ran to the Moon,
but it was far too cold, and also awful and malicious.
And when it saw the child, it said:
"I smell, I smell
The flesh of men!"
 On this she ran swiftly away, and came to the Stars,
which were kind and good to her, and each of them sat
on its own little chair. But the Morning Star arose,
and gave her the drumstick of a chicken, and said, "If
you have not that drumstick you cannot open the Glass
Mountain, and in the Glass Mountain are your brothers."
The maiden took the drumstick, wrapped it carefully in
a cloth, and went onward again until she came to the
Glass Mountain. The door was shut, and she thought she
would take out the drumstick. But when she undid the
cloth, it was empty, and she had lost the good Star's
present. What was she now to do? She wished to rescue
her brothers, and had no key to the Glass Mountain.
The good little sister took a knife, cut off one of her
little fingers, put it in the door, and succeeded in
When she had got inside, a little Dwarf came to meet
her, who said, "My child, what are you looking for?"
"I am looking for my brothers, the Seven Ravens," she
The Dwarf said, "The Lord Ravens are not at home, but
if you wish to wait here until they come, step in."
Thereupon the little Dwarf carried the Ravens' dinner
in, on seven little plates, and in seven little
glasses. The little sister ate a morsel from each
plate and from each little glass she took a sip. But
in the last little glass she dropped the ring which she
had brought away with her.
Suddenly, she heard a whirring of wings and a rushing
through the air, and then the little Dwarf said, "Now
the Lord Ravens are flying home."
 Then they came, and wanted to eat and drink, and looked
for their little plates and glasses. Then said one
after the other, "Who has eaten something from my
plate? Who has drunk out of my little glass? It was a
And when the seventh came to the bottom of the glass,
the ring rolled against his mouth. Then he looked at
it, and saw that it was a ring belonging to his father
and mother, and said, "God grant that our little sister
may be here, and then we shall be free."
When the maiden, who was standing behind the door
watching, heard that wish, she came forth, and on this
all the Ravens were restored to their human form again.
And they embraced and kissed each other, and went