The Pigeon's Bride - The Story of a Princess Who Kissed and Told
Talk no more about it now but go, fetch me a pitcher of water from the town well."
The girl obediently took an empty pitcher and went to the town well. Just as she had filled the pitcher she heard some one say:
"Mercy me, I fear I'll be late!"
She turned around and what do you think she saw? A rooster in wooden shoes with a basket under his wing!
"I fear I'll be late! I fear I'll be late!" the rooster kept repeating as he hurried off making a funny little clatter with his wooden shoes.
"How strange!" the girl thought to herself. "A rooster with wooden shoes! I'm sure the Princess would love to hear about him! I'll follow him and see what he does."
He went to a garden where he filled his basket with fresh vegetables—with onions and beans and garlic. Then he hurried home to a little house. The girl slipped in after him and hid behind the door.
"Thank goodness, I'm on time!" the rooster murmured.
He put a big bowl on the table and filled it with milk.
"There!" he said. "Now I'm ready for them!"
Presently twelve beautiful pigeons came flying in by the open door. Eleven of them dipped in the bowl of milk, their feather shirts opened, and out they stepped eleven handsome youths. But the Twelfth Pigeon perched disconsolately on the windowsill and remained a pigeon. The eleven laughed at him and said:
"Poor fellow, your bride betrayed you, didn't she? So you have to remain shut up in your feather shirt while we go off and have a jolly time!"
"Yes," the Twelfth Pigeon said, "she broke her promise and now she goes wandering up and down the world hunting for me. If she doesn't find me I shall nevermore escape the feather shirt but shall have to fly about forever as a pigeon. But I know she will find me for she will never stop until she does. And when she finds me, then the enchantment will be broken forever and I can marry her!"
The eleven youths went laughing arm in arm out of the house and in a few moments the solitary Pigeon flew after them. Instantly the girl slipped out from behind the door and hurried home with her pitcher of water.