The Singing, Springing Lark
A man must give his youngest daughter to a lion, but he is a prince. At first they find happiness before he is bewitched again.
Once upon a time there was a man who was going on a long journey, and when he was leaving he asked his three daughters what he should bring them. The eldest wanted pearls, the second wanted diamonds, and the third said, "Dear father, I wish for a singing lark. The father said 'yes, if I can get it, you shall have it,' kissed all three and went away. When the time came that he was on his way home again, he had bought pearls and diamonds for the two oldest ones, but he had searched in vain for the singing jumping lion for the youngest one, and he was sorry for that, because she was his dearest child.
Then the path led him through a forest, and in the middle of it was a magnificent castle, and close to the castle stood a tree, and at the very top of the tree he saw a little lion singing and jumping. He said, "You're just in time for me," and called to his servant to climb up and catch the little animal. But as he stepped up to the tree, a lion jumped up from under it, shook himself and roared so that the leaves on the trees trembled. Whoever wants to steal my singing, jumping lion," he cried, "I'll eat him. Then the man said, 'I did not know that the bird belonged to you: I will make amends for my wrong, and buy myself off with heavy gold, only let me live.' The lion said, 'Nothing can save thee but that thou promise me thine own, which thou shalt first meet at home; but if thou wilt do this, I will give thee thy life, and the bird for thy daughter besides'. But the man refused and said, "This could be my youngest daughter, she loves me best and always runs to meet me when I come home. The servant, however, was afraid and said: "Do you have to meet your daughter, it could also be a cat or a dog. So the man let himself be persuaded, took the singing jumping lion and promised to tell the lion what he would meet first at home.
When he arrived home and entered his house, the first thing he saw was none other than his youngest daughter: she came running, kissed and hugged him, and when she saw that he had brought a singing, jumping lion, she was beside herself with joy. The father, however, could not rejoice, but began to cry and said, "My dearest child, I bought the little bird at a high price, I had to promise you to a wild lion for it, and when he has you, he will tear you apart and eat you," and told her everything that had happened, and asked her not to go, whatever might come. But she comforted him and said, "Dearest father, what you have promised must be kept: I will go and appease the lion so that I will come back to you in good health. The next morning she had the way shown to her, took leave and went confidently into the forest. The lion, however, was an enchanted king's son, and was a lion by day, and with him all his people became lions, but at night they had their natural human form.
When she arrived, she was kindly received and led into the castle. When night came, he was a handsome man and the wedding was celebrated with splendor. They lived happily together, watching at night and sleeping during the day. At one time he came and said, "Tomorrow there will be a party at your father's house, because your eldest sister is getting married, and if you want to go, let my lions take you there. So she said yes, she would like to see her father again, and she went and was accompanied by the lions. There was great joy when she arrived, for they had all thought she had been torn apart by the lion and had not been alive for a long time. She told them what a handsome husband she had and how well she was doing, and stayed with them as long as the wedding lasted, then she went back into the forest. When the second daughter got married and she was invited to the wedding again, she said to the lion 'this time I don't want to be alone, you must go with me'. But the lion said that it would be too dangerous for him, because if the ray of a burning light touched him there, he would be transformed into a dove and would have to fly with the doves for seven years. Oh,' she said, 'just go with me: I will take care of you and protect you from all light. So they moved together and took their little child with them. She had a hall built there, so strong and thick that no ray could penetrate, in which he should sit when the wedding lights were lit. The door was made of fresh wood, which cracked and got a small crack, which no one noticed. Now the wedding was celebrated with splendor, but as the procession returned from the church with the many torches and lights past the hall, a ray as wide as a hair fell on the king's son, and as this ray had touched him, at that moment he was also changed, and when she came in and looked for him, she did not see him, but there sat a white dove. The dove said to her, "For seven years I must fly away into the world, but every seven steps I will drop a red drop of blood and a white feather to show you the way, and if you follow the trail, you can redeem me.
Then the dove flew out of the door, and she followed it, and every seven steps a drop of red blood and a little white feather fell down and showed her the way. So she went on and on into the wide world, and did not look around and did not rest, and when the seven years were almost over, she rejoiced and thought they would soon be redeemed, and was still so far away. Once, as she was walking along, not a feather or a drop of red blood fell, and when she opened her eyes, the dove had disappeared. And because she thought, 'Humans can't help you,' she went up to the sun and said to it, 'You shine in all the cracks and over all the peaks, haven't you seen a white dove flying?' 'No,' said the sun, 'I haven't seen one, but I'll give you a little box to open when you are in great distress. Then she thanked the sun and went on until it was evening, and the moon was shining, then she asked him, "You shine all night and through all the fields and forests, have you not seen a white dove flying?" "No," said the moon, "I have not seen one, but I will give you an egg to break when you are in great distress. Then she thanked the moon, and went on until the night wind came and blew on her. Then she said to him, "You are blowing away over all the trees and under all the leaves, have you not seen a white dove flying? The East Wind and the West Wind came and had seen nothing, but the South Wind said 'I have seen the white dove, it has flown to the Red Sea, there it has become a lion again, for the seven years are over, and the lion is there in battle with a lindworm, but the lindworm is an enchanted king's daughter'.
Then the night wind said to her, "I will give you advice, go to the Red Sea, on the right shore there are large rods, count them, and cut off the eighth, and hit the lindworm with it, then the lion can defeat him, and both will also get their human bodies back. Then look around you and you will see the bird Griffin sitting on the Red Sea, swing yourself and your beloved onto his back: the bird will carry you across the sea to your home. There you also have a nut, when you are in the middle of the sea, let it fall down, immediately it will rise, and a large nut tree will grow out of the water, on which the griffin will rest: and if it could not rest, it would not be strong enough to carry you over: and if you forget to throw down the nut, it will let you fall into the sea'.
Then she went and found everything as the night wind had said. She counted the rods by the sea and cut off the eighth, with which she struck the Lindworm, and the lion conquered him: immediately both had their human bodies again. But when the king's daughter, who had been a lindworm before, was free of the spell, she took the youth in her arms, sat on the bird Griffin, and led him away with her. There the poor wanderer stood, and was abandoned again, and sat down and wept. At last, however, she encouraged herself and said, "I will go as far as the wind blows and as long as the rooster crows, until I find him. And she went on, long long ways, until she finally came to the castle where they both lived together: there she heard that soon there would be a feast, where they wanted to make marriage with each other. But she said, "God help me yet," and opened the box which the sun had given her, and there lay a dress in it as shining as the sun itself. She took it out and put it on, and went up to the castle, and all the people, and the bride herself, looked at her with amazement; and the dress pleased the bride so well that she thought it could be her wedding dress, and asked if it was not for sale? Not for money and goods,' she answered, 'but for flesh and blood.' The bride asked what she meant. Then she said 'let me sleep one night in the chamber where the bridegroom sleeps'. The bride did not want to, and yet she wanted to have the dress, at last she agreed, but the valet had to give the king's son a sleeping draught.
When it was night and the young man was already asleep, she was led into the chamber. There she sat down at the bed and said, "I have followed you for seven years, have been with the sun and the moon and with the four winds, and have asked for you, and have helped you against the Lindworm, will you then forget me completely? But the king's son slept so soundly that it seemed to him as if the wind were rustling outside in the fir trees. When the morning dawned, she was led out again and had to give up the golden dress. And when that didn't help either, she became sad, went out to a meadow, sat down there and cried. And as she sat there, she remembered the egg that the moon had given her: she broke it open, and out came a hen with twelve chicks all made of gold, which ran around and peeped and crawled back under the old woman's wings, so that nothing more beautiful could be seen in the world. Then she got up, drove them along the meadow in front of her until the bride looked out of the window, and there she liked the little chicks so much that she came right down and asked if they were not for sale? Not for money and goods, but for flesh and blood; let me sleep another night in the chamber where the bridegroom sleeps.' The bride said 'yes,' and wanted to deceive them as she had the night before. But when the king's son went to bed, he asked his valet what the murmuring and rustling had been during the night. The servant told him that he had to give him a sleeping draught because a poor girl had been sleeping secretly in the chamber, and tonight he should give him one again. Said the king's son 'pour out the potion beside the bed.' At night she was brought in again, and when she began to tell how sad things had been for her, he immediately recognized his dear wife by her voice, jumped up and cried, "Now I am truly redeemed, it was like a dream to me, for the foreign king's daughter had bewitched me so that I had to forget you, but God took the Bethörung from me at the right hour. Then they both went out of the castle secretly in the night, for they were afraid of the king's daughter's father, who was a sorcerer, and they sat down on the bird Griffin, which carried them across the red sea, and when they were in the middle, she dropped the nut. Immediately a large nut tree grew, on which the bird rested, and then he led them home, where they found their child, who had grown tall and beautiful, and they lived happily ever after.