A widow had an only son, whom she cautioned never to pass beyond the mountains, which were in sight of her home. "My boy, never pass the mountains, never go beyond," was her constant warning.
One day while hunting he reached the top of the mountains and on looking into the valley beneath he saw a lovely city, surrounded by green meadows, lakes, and groves. He was tempted to visit so lovely a spot and yielded. He saw scenes of beauty and fair maidens.
When he returned home in the evening he sat by himself and looked lonesome and his mother saw from his manner that something unusual had occurred.
"My son, you have passed beyond the mountains." "I have, mother; I had beautiful visions."
"Ah," sighed his mother, "that is why I warned you. All who see the lovely city are never contented elsewhere. I knew home would
lose its attractions when you wandered over the mountains. Since it must be so I will do all I can for you."
The next day she made for her son a wonderful costume. She sent him to the forest to catch all manner of singing birds. She made for him also a flute. When all of her preparations were completed, she arrayed her son in the new costume and arranged for him a peculiar headdress, on which sat the singing birds.
"Now try your flute," she said, and at the first sound of the flute, the birds began to sing, keeping time to the music of their master.
"Go, my son, to the beautiful city beyond the mountains. When within the city, ask for the council of the king and as you enter the, council ground play on your flute, while your singing birds accompany you."
He passed the mountain and as he approached the city he began to play, while the birds sang. The crowd which gathered and watched the stranger with the wonderful birds told him where the king dwelt. He entered the council, playing on his flute, while his birds sang.
A seat of honor was offered the musical stranger and all were enraptured with his music. Ere he had been there long, no honor was too great for him and everyone strove to do him some kindness. Soon it was rumored that the daughter of the king was to be given as a bride to the young stranger.
One day he invited the king and his council to go with him to a river near the city. On reaching the stream he quickly cast aside his costume, plunged into the water and dived under and crossed the river four times, when all the fish came to the surface and were killed with arrows and a great feast was enjoyed.
The Rabbit, envious of the wonderful stranger, had followed the crowd and while all were intent on killing the fish, he stole the costume of the musical youth and ran away to the woods. On coming out of the river the garments could not be found. No one knew what had become of them.
The next day when the council was assembled, behold the Rabbit strutted in, puffing and blowing with all his might at the flute and, as the birds would not utter a note, he hit at them and said: "Why don't you sing?" He was dressed in the costume of the stranger and before he could be seized he said: "Well, come with me to the river and let us enjoy another feast."
Away he ran and the council followed him. In he jumped, casting the costume and flute on the ground, and though he crossed four times under the water not a fish appeared.
As his head came above the water they all cried:
It is the lying Rabbit.
It is the lying Rabbit.
Seize him, seize him.
He was tried by the council and chased from the council ground as an envious and rascally deceiver.
The king's daughter was married to the wonderful stranger and, as their hands were joined, the singing birds flapped their wings and sang with wild melody.