The Seven Ravens


“The Seven Ravens” is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm. It was included in their collection “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” (original German title “Kinder- und Hausmärchen”), first published in 1812. Here is a short retelling of the story:

Once upon a time, in a quaint village, there was a father with seven sons but no daughter. Finally, a daughter was born, delicate and fair. The father, overjoyed, decided to have his daughter baptized.

To the ceremony, he sent his seven sons to fetch water from a well. “Hurry, my sons, for your sister’s sake!” he said. But in their haste, the jug fell into the well. Fearing their father’s wrath, the brothers didn’t return home.

As time passed, the father grew angry. “I wish my sons were turned into ravens for their negligence!” he lamented in a moment of despair. Suddenly, his wish was granted, and his sons transformed into ravens and flew away.

Years passed, and the little girl grew up, unaware of her brothers. One day, she overheard people talking about her – seven brothers, lost because of her birth. Heartbroken, she decided to find them. “I must bring my brothers back,” she declared.

She traveled far, reaching the sun, the moon, and the stars, each telling her directions to her brothers. The morning star gave her a key. “This key will open the mountain where your brothers live,” it said.

Finally, she reached a mountain and unlocked it with the key. Inside, she found a dwarf. “I seek my brothers, the seven ravens,” she said. The dwarf showed her the ravens’ bedchamber. “They will return at dusk,” he informed her.

As the ravens came back, they found a ring belonging to their sister. “Could our sister be near?” they wondered. Just then, the girl appeared. “Brothers!” she cried joyfully.

The ravens transformed back into humans. They hugged their sister, tears of joy in their eyes. “You have freed us from our curse,” they said gratefully.

They returned home, their family finally reunited. The father, filled with remorse and joy, embraced his children. “A family once broken, now whole,” he whispered.

From then on, they lived together in happiness, never to be separated again.

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Follow Up Questions

Here are three simple questions you can ask kids about “The Seven Ravens”:

Why did the brothers turn into ravens? This question helps children remember the cause-and-effect relationship in the story.

What did the sister find at the end of her journey? Children can recall the climax of the story and discuss the sister’s role in the transformation of her brothers.

How would you feel if you were the sister on such a big adventure? This open-ended question encourages empathy and allows children to express their feelings related to the story’s events.

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