HEARTS AND HEROES

One morning a potter's wife in the North Country went to the mountains to get some clay that her husband needed and took their baby daughter with her.

Upon reaching the mountains she put the child down and turned to look for the clay.  Just then a great eagle swooped down and carried the child to his nest.  The little girl was not afraid of the big bird.  She clung to his neck and laughed and played and won the eagle's heart.  The eagle decided that he would keep the little girl and raise her as his own daughter.

He fed her fruits and nuts.  He taught her to climb along the mountaintops.

He would swoop down in the village and steal clothes from the peasants for her to wear.  When she got older, he was determined that she would wear the clothes of a princess and thus flew down into the King's palace and took one of the Queen's finest gowns.

The young girl wore the gown as she climbed about the rocks.  Soon the eagle had to steal another dress.  That dress too, soon became torn and tattered.  So he got another, and another.  He had stolen so many dresses from the Queen that the Queen wanted her son to shoot the eagle at once.

The young man wanted to fulfill his mother's wish, however he was very curious as to what a bird could possibly do with all the dresses.  He decided rather than shoot the eagle he would follow the eagle and find out what he was doing with the dresses.

He climbed for months about the mountains.  Early in the spring, one morning just as he was about to give up and shoot the eagle, he heard the voice of a girl singing sweetly above him.  He quickly climbed up through a crevice in the rock where he found her sitting in the eagle's nest.  Her beauty fascinated him.  He listened to the fascinating story of her life and he begged her to come down off of the mountain and become his wife.  

The young girl agreed to go down with him and the Prince brought her to his father, the King, and told him all that had happened.  The King kissed the beautiful Eagle-Girl, and ordered preparations for the wedding.

But the old Queen, who did not want her son to marry a strange girl, told two men to take the bride away and throw her into the river.  They did so, but the eagle heard her cries and brought her back to the palace.  The next day she was married to the Prince; and to punish the Queen, the King retired from the throne, and the Eagle-Girl and her husband, the Prince, became the new King and Queen. 

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