My sister and I had gone seeking food because there was scarcely anything to eat in our town. After walking a long way, we made our beds and fell asleep. We slept a long time because we were tired and weak. When we looked up, we saw a great eagle and an owl watching us.

“I hope you have rested,” said the owl politely.

Yes, we said, only we were very hungry. Did they have anything to eat? Straight away, the eagle flew to a farmhouse a mile or two off, and brought back a nest of eggs in his strong beak. The owl caught a tin pot by the handle and flew to a cottage where an old woman lived with her cow. He entered the shed by the window, and dipped the pail into the new milk.

We were so delighted by the kindness of the two great birds that we married them. My younger sister married the eagle, and I married the owl. She soon had a son, and I had a frog. The eagle hunted by day, and the owl by night. We never went hungry after that. Oh, we were all so happy together!

Owl Wife in The Owl and the Eagle, Orange Fairy Book. Picture by Pablo Picasso.

owl man