The Three Brothers, Switzerland

Once upon a time there was a farmer. He had three sons, but the farm could not be split up between the three. The mother therefore handed each of her sons a bundle of flax. “Take this to your beloved to have it spun. Who’s beloved makes the finest yarn can marry her and inherit the farm.”

The two older brothers each rushed to his beloved, but the youngest had nowhere to go, for he had no girlfriend. He went down to the river as always, when he suddenly heard someone calling out to him. “Where are you going?” But when he turned around, he saw no one. When he walked on, he heard the voice again, but when she called a third time to him, he saw that a toad had spoken to him. She sat in the mossy grass. So he answered: “I am looking for a spinner for this bundle of flax. But I will probably not find one.”

“Give me the flax, I will spin it for you,“ the toad said, and the boy gave it to her. She took it and jumped into the water. 

The next day, he went down to the river again and what did he see? The yarn was hanging in a shrub by the waterline and the toad sat beside it. “Take it. You will receive the farm, then announce the wedding and buy me a wedding dress. I will be there, but you must be patient and trust that I will arrive at the right time.”


It happened as the toad had foreseen. His yarn was the finest and he was pronounced heir to the farm. So the wedding was planned and the day of the ceremony came. The dress was readily hanging in the sacristy and everybody sat in the church waiting, but there was no bride. People became impatient. However the groom remembered the toad’s words and calmly waited. And indeed, all of a sudden, the toad entered the church, jumped into the wedding gown and in that moment, she changed into a beautiful young girl. She was so pretty that all the people couldn’t help but stare. The couple was married and lived in peace happily ever after.