I stand with two other birch trees at the crossing of three roads.
One day three princes came along with their bows and arrows. The eldest took an arrow and shot it into my trunk. Turning to his brothers he said, “Let us each mark one of these trees before we part on different ways.”
Having been shot with an arrow and wounded, I knew what would happen. If the prince who shot me died, blood would flow from the mark he had made on me. If he lived, then milk would flow from the mark.
It would be the same with all the brothers. Our destinies were bound together.
Birch Tree at the Crossroads in The Three Princes and Their Beasts, Violet Fairy Book. Picture by Carl Larsson.