Once upon a time there lived a couple who had seven sons, and they now desperately wished for a little girl.  Then came a time that the woman told the man there was hope, and their happiness was great when she delivered a baby girl.  But it soon became apparent that the baby was not at all well and the couple feared for her life.  Not wanting the child to die unbaptised, the father called together his sons, handed them a pitcher, and bade them to go to the well to get water so he might baptise their little sister, in case the worst happened before the priest could make his way to their cabin.

      The boys set off alright, but as is the custom with boys, they started to fight over which one was to actually fetch the water out of the well.  And suddenly, the pitcher was on the ground, in a hundred pieces.  Whereupon they didn't dare return home, being well acquainted with their father's temper.

      The father meanwhile got very irate with the boys because he suspected that they had forgotten their vital errand over some boyish games.  Worried about the sick baby and quite angry with the boys, he called out "Oh, that these brats were ravens and just fly off somewhere ..."

      No sooner had he uttered these words that he heard a noise as from many wings beating in the air above his head.  He looked up and saw eight ravens flying off to who knows where ....

      The parents were naturally very sad about the fate of their boys; the father sure wished he had not uttered those words in anger.  But a spell, once spoken, can not be taken back that easily.  The baby, however, survived and grew into a lovely girl who for the longest time had no idea that she had seven brothers.  But as she got older, she overheard people talking in the village.  And as is the habit with wagging tongues that love to spread poison, she heard it being said that really, it was all her fault, this sad fate that had befallen her brothers.

      This made her understandably upset and she asked her parents about her brothers, where they were, what had happened to them.  Thus she finally learned the truth.  Her parents also tried to make it quite clear that this was in no way her fault.  But the girl's conscience would not let her rest.  She knew that somehow, she had to break the spell and free her brothers.  Her parents tried to reassure her, but finally she could stand it no longer.  She took a ring of her mother's for a souvenier, a pitcher of water and a loaf of bread to stave off hunger and thirst, a knife to cut the bread, and a little footstool to rest on.

      She walked and walked and walked, and one day she came to the end of the world, into the realm of the Sun.  But the Sun was hot and bad tempered and was said to eat small children, so she ran off ... into the realm of the Moon.  But the Moon was cold and scary and also rumoured to eat little children, so off she went, as quickly as she could.  She finally came to the stars, who were friendly and kind.  The Morning Star came to greet her and gave her a chicken bone.  She would need this because without the chicken bone, she'd never be able to unlock the Glass Mountain in which her brothers were held captive.

     She thanked the Morning Star, wrapped the chicken bone in her handkerchief, and was soon on the way to the Glass Mountain.  But as she stood before the mountain and unwrapped the bone to unlock the door ... the bone was gone.  After her inititial shock, she had an idea.  She took her knife and cut off her little finger.  And thus she was able to unlock the glass door without any problems.

      The first creature she encountered was a Gnome who asked what her business might be in Glass Mountain.  From him she learned that the raven were not at home, but she was welcome to wait for them.  She sat down on her little footstool to wait.  Then the Gnome brought in the raven's dinner, on seven tiny plates, their wine in seven tiny cups.  The girl was quite hungry so she tasted a morsel off each plate and drank a few drops out of each cup.  Into the last cup, she dropped her mother's ring.

     It wasn't long that the ravens returned home and set about their supper.  The girl watched from behind the door as each, in turn, was heard to inquire "Who has eaten off my plate?"  "Who has drunk from my cup? It has been touched by human lips!"  But as the last one went to take a drink from his cup, he found the ring and recognised it as his mother's.  "Oh," he cried, "if only our sister were here, then the spell would be broken and we'd be human again!"

      Thereupon, the girl stepped from behind the door and in the blink of an eye, there were no more ravens but seven handsome young men.  They hugged and kissed their sister, happy that the spell was broken at last.

      They soon returned home where they lived happily ever after.
Seven
Ravens
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