There was a man who had seven sons, but he had no daughter, greatly though he longed for one. At last his wife told him that they could again expect a child and, sure enough, when it was born it was a baby girl. There was great rejoicing, but the child was weak and puny, so weak that it had to be christened at once. The father told one of the boys to go quickly to the spring and fetch christening water; the other six ran along with him, and because each of them wanted to be the first to dip the jug into the well, it fell in and sank. So there they stood and didn't know what to do, and none of them dared go home. When they didn't come back their father got impatient and said:" I'll wager they've been playing some game again and forgotten all about it, the godless brats." He was afraid the little girl would have to die unbaptized, and in his rage he cried out:" I wish those boys would all turn into ravens." He'd scarcely spoken the words when he heard a whirring of wings in the air overhead, looked up and saw seven coal-black ravens flying away.
The parents were unable now to take back the curse, and yet, grief-stricken as they were at the loss of their seven sons, they look some comfort from their beloved little daughter, who soon got well and strong and became more beautiful with every day that passed. For a long time the little girl didn't even know that she had had brothers, for her parents took care not to mention them, but one day by chance she heard some people talking about her. "The girl's beautiful, of course," they were saying, "but she's to blame really for her seven brothers' misfortune." This made her very sad, and she went to her father and mother and asked whether it was true then that she had had brothers and what had become of them. So now it was no longer possible for her parents to conceal from her what had happened, though they told her that it had been God's will and that her birth had only been the innocent occasion for it. But day after day she was conscience-stricken about it, and felt that it was her duty to free her brothers from the spell again. The thought gave her no peace, so in the end she left home secretly and went off into the wide world to try and trace her brothers wherever they might be, and rescue them at whatever cost. She took nothing with her but a ring belonging to her parents to remember them by, a loaf of bread for when she was hungry, a jug of water for when she was thirsty, and a little chair for when she was tired.