Once, long ago in a quiet, peaceful village, there were three friends; a girl and two boys. They had been friends since they were very young and would leave their homes at all hours just to meet up with one another. But at the age of twenty, something bad occurred, changing what was once an eternal friendship forever.
It was on a stormy night they met at a clearing in the woods nearest the village they lived, when a strange man appeared in front of them. At first, the ageless man seemed to be smiling warmly, but the warm smile turned into a twisted cackle.
“One of you must die tonight in order to save two others,” the man said.
“However why? We have done nothing wrong,” the oldest boy said in surprise.
“One of you has a heart of a coward, one of you has a heart of bravery, and one of you has a heart that cannot love. You must decide who has what heart,” the man spoke again.
“How would we know, we are friends that cannot be separated,” the girl said.
“You must decide,” the man repeated.
“Let me leave and take one of the others. I want to live a longer life. I have the heart of bravery,” the oldest boy said.
“But what if I have the heart of bravery? I think you have the heart of a coward,” the girl argued.
As the two older friends argued about which heart they had, the youngest of the three friends finally spoke, “Let me die and save the others, I have lived a great life and to die now would be better than to watch one of my friends die. You may take my life, stranger, but let the others go first.”
The man recognised the youngest friend’s bravery and put up his hand to let them know he had something to say, “It is decided now. The one of you who possesses the heart of bravery is the youngest of the three of you. The one with the heart that cannot love is the one aged between the three of you which leaves the older of all of you with the heart of a coward. The test is over.”
With that, he turned the youngest of the three into a golden eagle, the girl into a raven and the oldest into a vulcher, to live the rest of their days as birds.
The oldest boy was the first to die after the first week of being a bird from when he was unable to scavenge for food, dying in hunger, the girl who became a raven was the next to die from what could have been named the first suicide of a bird, the inability to love taking its toll, but for the youngest boy who became a golden eagle, it is unknown if he ever met his death or not…
Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author so credit can be given