As a merry young huntsman was once going briskly along through a wood, there came up a little old woman, and said to him, ‘Good day, good day; you seem merry enough, but I am hungry and thirsty; do pray give me something to eat.’ The huntsman took pity on her, and put his hand in his pocket and gave her what he had. Then he wanted to go his way; but she took hold of him, and said, ‘Listen, my friend, to what I am going to tell you; I will reward you for your kindness; go your way, and after a little time you will come to a tree where you will see nine birds sitting on a cloak. Shoot into the midst of them, and one will fall down dead: the cloak will fall too; take it, it is a wishing-cloak, and when you wear it you will find yourself at any place where you may wish to be. Cut open the dead bird, take out its heart and keep it, and you will find a piece of gold under your pillow every morning when you rise. It is the bird’s heart that will bring you this good luck.’
The huntsman thanked her, and thought to himself, ‘If all this does happen, it will be a fine thing for me.’ When he had gone a hundred steps or so, he heard a screaming and chirping in the branches over him, and looked up and saw a flock of birds pulling a cloak with their bills and feet; screaming, fighting, and tugging at each other as if each wished to have it himself. ‘Well,’ said the huntsman, ‘this is wonderful; this happens just as the old woman said’; then he shot into the midst of them so that their feathers flew all about. Off went the flock chattering away; but one fell down dead, and the cloak with it. Then the huntsman did as the old woman told him, cut open the bird, took out the heart, and carried the cloak home with him.
The next morning when he awoke he lifted up his pillow, and there lay the piece of gold glittering underneath; the same happened next day, and indeed every day when he arose. He heaped up a great deal of gold, and at last thought to himself, ‘Of what use is this gold to me whilst I am at home? I will go out into the world and look about me.’