The seven swans
A young knight hunts a white doe and finds a beautiful maiden with a gold chain by a river, takes it from her and leads her home as a bride. But his mother hates her, takes the seven newborn children from her and puts down dogs for them. A servant is supposed to kill the children in the forest, but cannot do it and leaves them there. The beautiful woman is buried up to her breast, only gets dog food, a washbasin above her, everyone is drying their hands on their hair for seven years. Once the knight sees the children in the forest with their gold chains. His mother is frightened, the servant has to look for her and let the chains melt down. The goldsmith can only do this with one. Without the chains, the sons must remain swans. The knight has them fed at the mountain lake. Her sister begs and shares with her mother. They do not know each other, but are so similar that the knight lets the child tell a story. His mother still tries to have it killed by the servant, is put into the hole herself, the swans are released, except for one, from whom one finds "many strange adventures described in some books."
Bechstein names the source, a manuscript from Leipzig, published in Altdeutsche Blätter . Some wording sounds old-fashioned, for example the title The Seven Swans , the girl “was helpless”, the knight saw “the golden chain”. To what extent Bechstein edited the text should be checked. The incomplete redemption sounds more like legend. Cf. Bechstein's The Seven Ravens , The Witch and the King's Children , The Boys with the Golden Stars , Grimm's The Six Swans , De two Künigeskinner , Basiles's gold chain, The two small cakes .
The modern collection of fairy tales The oldest fairy tales in Europe is apparently based on Bechstein or a related version with The Seven Swans .
- Hans-Jörg Uther (Ed.): Ludwig Bechstein. Storybook. After the edition of 1857, text-critically revised and indexed. Diederichs, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-424-01372-2 , pp. 255-261, 390.
- Hans-Jörg Uther (Ed.): Ludwig Bechstein. Storybook. After the edition of 1857, text-critically revised and indexed. Diederichs, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-424-01372-2 , p. 390.
- The oldest fairy tales in Europe. 2nd Edition. Karl Müller Verlag, Erlangen 1986. Retold by Karel Dvorák. Illustrations by Miroslav Váša. (Artia Verlag, Praha 1983) Graphic design by Helena Trösterova. Translated into German by Ingeburg Zpĕváčková. Pp. 137-141.