One morning a miller found a large and heavy chest resting on his millwheel. He quickly removed the heavy box and opened it. Inside he found three children, like wine and milk, each with a golden star on its forehead. They were two boys and one girl. Astonished the miller brought the children to his wife and because they had no children of their own, they took in these three and raised them. When the children had grown, the miller let the truth slip out and he revealed, he did not know where they came from. The two boys would not give the miller any rest. They urged him to reveal the person who knew of their parentage. After many hours of pleading and needling, the miller finally said: “The bird who tells the truth knows it and he lives in the castle!”
Now the youngest of the boys could no longer be kept at home. The next day he took the miller’s black horse and went out riding to find the bird who tells the truth. He rode many days and the youth did not return. The next spring, the older brother left home to look for his brother and the bird who tells the truth. He, too, did not return. Now it was the sister’s turn. Her name was Amalia and she, too, no longer wanted to stay at the mill. She took the white horse of the miller and rode out into the world to search for the bird who tells the truth. The miller and his wife cried bitter tears so that their eyes were quite red, for Amalia was beautiful and good, like an angel.
The maid bravely traversed the wide, dark wood until she met an old withered wife, who said to her “I know you want to find the bird who tells the truth and your two brothers. If you want to be successful in both things, you must never look back, regardless what happens!”
The maid gratefully promised she would not forget such wise counsel and continued riding. She came to a dark and deep sea, beside which lay a steep mountain. At the summit could be seen a large and beautiful castle. As quickly as she could, she jumped off her steed, took up her walking stick and began climbing the mountain. She heard calling after her: “Amalia! Amalia!” and a loud noise followed her. But Amalia never looked back. She continued on her way, walking ever more quickly. Finally she arrived at a castle made of beautiful green marble, with high towers and golden roof. But in front of the gate stood a fearsome wild man of the forest who grasped a fir tree in each hand. He guarded the entry and let no one enter. Amalia was quick as a weasel and ran through the legs of the wild man and entered the castle. Everywhere she looked there were rooms filled with gold, silver and glistening gems. But the most beautiful room was filled with cages containing every type of bird. Some were red, others white, yellow, green, black-brown, in short, they were of every color. When the maid entered the room, each bird called out to her “I am the bird who tells the truth! Take me, take me!”
In the corner sat a small bird, who said nothing. Amalia took this one. The gray bird was very happy and said: “I was not allowed to say that I am the bird who tells the truth, but you have found the right one! You must go into the rose garden, take the divining rod next to the clear spring in the middle of the garden. When we descend from the mountain, touch every stone you see with the rod!”
The maid found the rod in the garden and together with the bird, made her way down the mountain. Every stone she touched with the rod was transformed into a knight or lady. The two brothers of Amalia also emerged from two stones and with tears in their eyes, they now embraced their dear sister. The bird, however, warbled that they were all king’s children. Their uncle had placed them in a chest while their father was at war and the waves had carried them far away. The evil uncle had told the king, that his wife had instead bore three kittens.
Full of rage the brothers, accompanied by many knights and ladies, went to the realm of the king. There, the bird told the king the story of his children. Overcome with happiness, he embraced his children and released their mother from prison. They all sat down at a splendid table and celebrated a feast. But the uncle was torn into four pieces by four horses. Amalia became a fine and tender queen while her brothers became brave and goodly kings. This is the story of the bird who tells the truth!
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