After a hard day’s work chopping wood in the forest with my father, we got home, and then my father said, “Oh, no, I left my axe in the forest!”
He asked my stepmother if she would send her daughter out. She hadn’t worked all day in the cold and the heavy rain, whereas I was chilled to the bone.
My stepmother refused. She worried that her daughter would catch cold. She said I should go. I was strong, and wet already.
I went out into the dark. The walk took a long time, and my shoes often got stuck in the mud. But I didn’t think of turning back merely because the path was difficult and unpleasant.
Finally, after my dress had been torn by brambles and my face had been scratched by sharp twigs, I came to the place where we had been working. The axe lay on the ground, but, to my astonishment, three little doves were sitting on the handle.
“You poor little things, what are you doing here?” I asked, stroking them. They appeared to be hungry, so I gave them some bread.
Walking back, I had a queer sensation around my head, and by the time I stepped into the cottage, I was wearing some sort of wreath. My father, who was sitting by the fire, said, “Oh, my, you have never looked lovelier than you do in this moment.”
My stepmother strode up to me and yanked the wreath off my head, telling me I was absurd to dress like that on such a night. Then I saw that the wreath was made of rosebuds, and tiny little birds were singing amongst the flowers. The moment she grabbed it, the roses withered, and the birds flew out of the window.