Spanische und Portugiesische Marchen, no. 5 (lena: Diederichs, 1940).
A peasant was out in the fields one day when he saw three marvelous carnations. He broke them off and brought them to his daughter. The young girl was very happy, but one day, when she stood in the kitchen and looked at them, one fell into the coals and burned. A beautiful young man appeared then and asked her, "What's the matter with you? What are you doing?" Since she didn't answer, he said, "You don't talk to me? All right, then you can find me near the stones of the whole world." And he disappeared.
She took the second carnation and threw it in the fire. Again a young man appeared before her and said, "What's the matter with you? What are you doing?" But she didn't answer. So he said, "You are not talking to me? Well, near the stones of the whole world you can find me." And he disappeared.
Maria - that was the name of the young girl - took the last carnation and threw it in the fire. And again such a young man appeared, again he asked the same questions, and again he disappeared.
But now Maria was sad because she had fallen in love with the last young man, and she decided after some days to go on a journey and find the stones of the whole world. She went away quite alone, and walked further and further until by chance she came to a place where there were three high stones. She was tired, so she sat down and began to cry. When she cried, one of the three stones opened and the young man she loved came out and said, "Maria, why are you crying?" And as she continued to cry, he said, "Don't be sorry, just go up there where you see a farmer's house. Go into it and ask the mistress if she will take you as a maid."
The girl did so and was taken as a maid by the mistress. Because she worked very hard and had a good heart, she was soon the favorite of her mistress. That made the other maids jealous. They went to the mistress and said, "Do you know what Maria said?" "What did she say?" "She doesn't understand why you have so many maids, because she can clean all the dirty linen herself in one day."
"Come, Maria," said the mistress, "you said that you can clean all the dirty linen in one day?" "No," said Maria, "I did not say that." "But the other maids said so and now you have to do it," said the mistress, "otherwise you have to go." Then she ordered all the washing to be carried to the river.
Poor Maria didn't know what to do. She went to the stones and cried. The same young man appeared and said. "What's the matter with you? Why do you cry?" And since she didn't answer, he said, "Well, don't worry about my mother's laundry. Go to the river and say to the birds, 'Birds of the whole world, come and help me.' "
She did so, and when she said that, an enormous swarm of birds came and began to wash the linen, and in one minute everything was finished. By afternoon it was all dry. The mistress was very glad, and again was very pleased with Maria. But that only infuriated the other maids more, so they thought up another trick.
The mistress had an illness in her eyes. It was caused by her crying so much the day after her three sons went hunting, because they were bewitched and never returned. And the mother didn't know where they were. She called Maria and said the maids had told her that Maria could find the water that could cure her eyes. Maria denied it, but again the mistress said, "You have to do it or you must leave."
So Maria went to the stones and the young man came out again and said, "Don't worry. Take a glass, go to the shore of the river and call out, 'Birds of the whole world. come and cry with me.' When they have all appeared, the last one will drop a little feather. Put it into the glass and touch the eyes of your mistress with it. Then she will be cured."
Maria did so, and all the birds came and cried into the glass, and the last one dropped a feather, and with the tears of the birds and the feather she cured the eyes of her mistress.
But this wasn't enough. Again the maids slandered Maria and said she boasted that she could redeem the three sons of the mistress. So the mistress ordered her to do so. But the young man came out of the stones again and said, "I know our mother has ordered you to redeem us, but don't worry. Go to her and tell her to assemble all the girls from the surrounding countryside. Tell her they should come in a procession, each with a burning candle, and walk three times around the stones. But they must be very careful that none of their candles are blown out."
So Maria told the mistress, and all the girls of the surrounding neighborhood came, each with a burning candle, and made a circular procession around the stones three times. But when they went around the last time, a gust of wind came and blew out Maria's candle. She cried out in despair, "Alas! my candle went out!" At that moment the stones opened and the three brothers came out, and the youngest said to Maria, 'Thank God you spoke. Now we are redeemed."
Then the stones disappeared, and the young man told them that a wizard had bewitched them when they passed this place. He had turned them into carnations and said they could be redeemed only if the person who had burned the carnations would talk near the stones.
The mother and her sons were overjoyed and the youngest asked Maria if she would marry him. Since she loved him, she said yes. They married and were quite happy. And the maids no longer plotted against Maria but asked to be pardoned, and she pardoned them.