Once upon a time there was a pious and good king, who had three sons. Besides other good things he had done for the people of his kingdom, he also built a monastery, which he adorned with gems. There were a lot of marble pillars inside and outside the church, the painting was precious, the chandeliers were made of silver, the candlesticks were made of gold and the most expensive books were the dowry of the monastery. But, the more the king enjoyed the beauty of his monastery, the sadder he was because he could not finish it as the tower always crumbled to the ground.
‘How could this happen’, said the king, ‘that I cannot finish this holy church?’ The answer came one night when he dreamt that if somebody brought the magic bird from the other world and put its nest in the tower, then he would be able to finish the monastery.
Early in the morning, he told his dream to his sons and they decided to go to look for the magic bird. Said and done, the eldest of the sons prepared for the journey and left. After he passed over the boundaries of his father’s kingdom, he stopped to rest when, all of a sudden, a fox appeared and he asked the king’s son to tie his dog and to give him a piece of bread, a little wine and to leave him warm up near the fire, but the king's son didn't listen to him and let the dog free chase the fox. Then, the fox made a sign and turned the man into a stone.
As he saw that the eldest son was not coming back, the king sent his second son, but he had the same destiny as the first one. Now, the king was very upset as he had sent two sons and none of them came back and he would not leave the youngest to leave because he was afraid that he would not come back either and the kingdom would be left without heir. After many prayers and a lot of insistence of the son, the king allowed his son to go.
After a while the two eldest sons arrived home, bringing the bird and a maiden who became the caretaker of the bird. Everybody was surprised and amazed by the beautiful bird – its feathers were colourful and they glittered in the light of the sun; the tower of the church didn’t crumble to the ground anymore as the bird made its nest there. But now there was only one problem: it seemed that the bird was dumb as it didn’t sing.
As they were so happy that the magic bird had been brought there, the people began to forget about the king’s youngest son. Only the king was sad that his youngest son was not there to share the joy of the people.
One day, the caretaker came to the king to tell him that the bird started to sing beautifully when a shepherd went inside the church. Hearing that, the king asked that the shepherd was brought to him. When the king and the shepherd were face to face, the last confessed that he was his youngest son. He told the king the whole story: he made friends with the fox that turned his brothers into stone; the fox was, in fact, a lad cursed to be a fox until a man would show sympathy to him. The lad promised the king’s son to help him and they went together to the dragons’ estate and they stole the magic bird. Back on the lad’s estate, the king’s youngest son asked what the two stones were and the lad transformed his brothers into people.
On their way back home, the three brothers stopped near a lake and the two eldest cut the legs of the youngest while he was drinking water. Left in the woods, the king’s youngest son managed to cure his legs with the help of a witch’s blood and after that he became a shepherd. He wanted to leave God to prove who were the guilty ones.
All his sons gathered in front of the king and the two eldest sons asked the youngest one for forgiveness, but he told them:
“If God forgives you, I will forgive you too.”
All three brothers threw rocks with their slings and the rocks of the eldest brothers hit them in their head, killing them. The rock of the youngest fell in front of him. Everybody witnessed this divine justice and after that the king’s youngest son got married and became the ruler of the kingdom in his father’s place.