There was once a king who had three sons. His eyes were diseased, and he called in a
physician who said that to cure them he needed a feather of the griffin. Then the kind
said to his sons, "He who finds this feather for me shall have my crown."
The sons set out in search of it.
The youngest met an old man, who asked him what he was doing. He replied, "Papa is
ill. To cure him a feather of the griffin in necessary. And papa has said that whoever
finds the feather shall have his crown."
The old man said, "Well, here is some corn. When you reach a certain place, put it
in your hat. The griffin will come and eat it. Seize him, pull out a feather, and carry it
The youth did so, and for fear that someone should steal it from him, he put it into
his shoe, and started all joyful to carry it to his father. On his way he met his
brothers, who asked him if he had found the feather. He said, "No," but his
brothers did not believe him, and wanted to search him. They looked everywhere, but did
not find it. Finally they looked in his shoe and got it. Then they killed the youngest
brother and buried him, and took the feather to their father, saying that they had found
it. The king healed his eyes with it.
A shepherd one day, while feeding his sheep, saw that his dog was always digging in the
same place, and went to see what it was, and found a bone. He put it into his mouth, and
saw that it sounded and said, "Shepherd, keep me in your mouth, hold me tight, and do
not let me go! For a feather of the griffin, my brother has played the traitor, my brother
has played the traitor."
One day the shepherd, with his whistle in his mouth, was passing by the king's palace,
and the king heard him, and called him to see what it was. the shepherd told him the
story, and how he had found it. The king put it to his mouth, and the whistle said,
"Papa! Papa! Keep me in your mouth, hold me tight, and do not let me go. For a
feather of the griffin, my brother has played the traitor, my brother has played the
Then the king put it in the mouth of the brother who had killed the youngest, and the
whistle said, "Brother! Brother! Keep me in you mouth, hold me fast, and do not let
me go. For a feather of the griffin, you have played the traitor, you have played the
Then the king understood the story and had his two sons put to death. And thus they
killed their brother and afterwards were killed themselves.
Thomas Frederick Crane: Italian Popular Tales. Boston 1885, Nr. 8. (AT 780,