The Bird with the Golden Gizzard: The Story of Two Brothers
There was once a poor man who had a large family. He was so poor that he had nothing to feed the children. For three days they had had no food. On the third day as the father was out cutting osiers he saw, sitting in a bush, a small bird that shone like gold.
“If I could snare that bird,” he thought to himself, “and take it home, the children would be amused and perhaps forget they were hungry.”
So he caught the bird and carried it home and, sure enough, the children were so delighted that for two days they didn’t cry for food.
On the third day the bird laid a golden egg. The oldest boy took the egg to the goldsmith to sell it. The goldsmith examined it and said:
“I don’t believe I have money enough to buy this egg.”
“Just give me some bread,” the boy said. “That will be enough.”
The goldsmith gave him two loaves of bread, one under each arm, and filled his pockets with golden ducats. So for once the whole family had all it could eat and still there was money left over.
Two days later the bird laid another golden egg which the boy carried to the goldsmith and sold for the same price.
Now the goldsmith had a son who said he would like to see this wonderful bird. So he went home with the boy. He looked the bird over very carefully and under its wings he discovered an inscription that no one else had seen. The inscription read:
Whoever eats my heart will become king.
Whoever eats my gizzard will find under his head each morning a heap of golden ducats.
The youth went home and told his father about the strange inscription. They talked the matter over and at last decided that it would be well for the young man to marry the poor man’s oldest daughter provided he could get the golden bird as dowry.
The goldsmith went to see the girl’s father and after some discussion the marriage was arranged.
The wedding day arrived. The bridegroom ordered the bird to be roasted and ready to be put on the table when the bridal party came home from church. It was his intention to eat the heart himself and have his bride eat the gizzard.