Fundevogel Fairy Tale


A forester finds a child in the top of a tree. He takes this Foundling Bird, or Fundevogel, home to his daughter Lina. But the cook…

Fundevogel is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a boy found at the top of a tree. He is called Fundevogel and best friends with Lina. The cook wants to boil him. They flee and change into several things to escape the cook. In the end they kill her and live happily ever after.


Complete text Fundevogel

The forester finds a child

There was once a forester who went into the forest to hunt. As he entered it he heard a sound of screaming as if a little child were there. He followed the sound and at last came to a high tree. At the top of this tree a little child was sitting.

The mother had fallen asleep under the tree with the child. A bird of prey had seen it in her arms, had flown down, snatched it away and set it on the high tree.

The forester climbed up, brought the child down and thought to himself, “You will take him home with you and bring him up with your Lina.”

He took it home and the two children grew up together. The one which he had found on a tree was called Fundevogel, because a bird had carried it away. Fundevogel and Lina loved each other so dearly that when they did not see each other they were sad.

The forester had an old cook. One evening this cook took two pails and began to fetch water. She did not go once, but many times, all the way out to the spring. Lina saw this and said, “Listen, old Sanna, why are you fetching so much water?”

“If you will never repeat it to anyone, I will tell you why.”

The old cook tells her plan to Lina

So Lina said, no, she would never repeat it to anyone, and then the cook said, “Early tomorrow morning, when the forester is out hunting, I will heat the water. When it is boiling in the kettle, I will throw in Fundevogel and will boil him in it.”

Next morning the forester got up and went out hunting. When he was gone the children were still in bed. Then Lina said to Fundevogel, “If you will never leave me, I too will never leave you.”

Fundevogel said, “I will never leave you. Not now, not ever.”

Lina said, “Then I will tell you. Last night, old Sanna carried so many buckets of water into the house that I asked her why she was doing that. She said that if I would promise not to tell any one she would tell me. I said I would be sure not to tell any one. She said that early tomorrow morning when father was out hunting, she would set the kettle full of water, throw you in it and boil you; but we will get up quickly, dress ourselves and go away together.”

Lina and Fundevogel escape

The two children got up, dressed themselves quickly and went away. When the water in the kettle was boiling, the cook went into the bedroom to fetch Fundevogel and throw him into it. However when she came in and went to the beds, both the children were gone. She was very alarmed and said to herself, “What shall I say now when the forester comes home and sees that the children are gone? They must be followed instantly to get them back again.”

The cook sent three servants after them, who were to run and overtake the children. The children were sitting outside the forest. When they saw from afar the three servants running, Lina said to Fundevogel, “Never leave me, and I will never leave you.”

Fundevogel said, “Not now, not ever.”

Then Lina said, “You: turn into a rose tree, and I will be the rose upon it.”

When the three servants came to the forest, nothing was there but a rosetree and one rose on it. The children were nowhere. They said, “There is nothing to be done here,” went home and told the cook that they had seen nothing in the forest but a little rose-bush with one rose on it.

The old cook scolded them and said, “You simpletons, you should have cut the rose bush in two and broken off the rose and brought it home with you; go, and do it at once.”

They had to go out and look for the second time. The children saw them coming from a distance. Then Lina said, “Fundevogel, never leave me, and I will never leave you.”

Fundevogel said, “Not now, not ever.”

Lina said, “You: turn into a church, and I’ll be the chandelier in it.”

When the three servants came, nothing was there but a church with a chandelier in it. They said to each other, “What can we do here, let us go home.”

When they got home, the cook asked if they had not found them; so they said no, they had found nothing but a church, and that there was a chandelier in it. The cook scolded them, “You fools! why did you not pull the church to pieces and bring the chandelier home with you?”

The cook pursues the children herself

Now the old cook herself got on her legs and went with the three servants in pursuit of the children. The children saw from afar that the three servants were coming and the cook waddling after them.

Lina said, “Fundevogel, never leave me, and I will never leave you.”

And Fundevogel said, “Not now, not ever.”

Lina said, “You: be a fishpond, and I will be the duck upon it.”

The cook came up to them. When she saw the pond she lay down by it and was about to drink it up. But the duck swam quickly to her, seized her head in its beak and drew her into the water. There the old witch had to drown.

The children went home together, and were very happy. And if they are not dead, they are living still.

Tips for Telling Fundevogel

Storyteller Rudolf Roos
  • The question and answer that repeats throughout the story (Fundevogel, never leave me…) is beautiful. Repetitions like this give a rhythm to your story.
  • Central to this story is the bond between Lina and Fundevogel. Imagine the games they play together, the places they go to, the conversations they have: it will shine through in your telling.
  • How do the children magically change into the rose bush and the rose? You don’t need to tell how, but you do need to know it.
A reading of Fundevogel

All Questions Answered

Who wrote the story Fundevogel?

This fairy tale was published by the Brothers Grimm in the first edition of their Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Their source: Friederike Mannel.

When was Fundevogel written?

The Brothers Grimm included it in the 1812 edition of the Grimm’s fairy tales.

Is the fairy tale Fundevogel known by other names?

Yes, the story is also known as Foundling Bird, Fledgling, Foundling and Foundling-Bird.

More useful information

Fairy tales with a bird

Fairy tales with a cook

Fairy tales with a duck

Fairy tales with a forester

Fairy tales with a servant

Photo credits: Storyblocks

The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales on this website are based on the authentic translation of Margaret Hunt. They were edited and reformatted for pleasant reading and telling by Storyteller Rudolf Roos.
See the complete list of The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales (link to