Shepherd and the three fairies
In the old days, a small boy from Istria, near the sea, took with him a few cows, which included some sheep and goats. It was in the afternoon, and the hot sun burned the ground. Suddenly the boy sees three beautiful girls who slept on a soft grass. They were fairies. They were inexpressibly beautiful, but were very similar: they were almost identical to each other. They were calmly lying down and, at least, seemingly sweetly slept. The boy did not even think that they could be fairies. He thought that the girls who were tired in the sun had lie down and fell asleep.
“But the sun will burn them!” thought the boy to himself. “It’s a shame of so beautiful faces! I have to help them.”
He climbed the nearby linden tree, broke down the bushy branches and planted them around the girls so that the sun could not harm them. After a long time, the fairies woke and stood up. They began to wonder, who it was that was so compassionate to protect them from the sun rays. (Well, they knew perfectly well what had happened, because the fairies never sleep, they were just pretending. They asked only to see if the boy would answer or not.)
But the shepherd did not answer; he even tried to escape because he could not look at the fairies; their hair was too glistening, like dry pure gold. At that moment, they were all three with him. He could not escape them. They asked him what he wanted as a gift because he protected them from the burning sun. And the boy did not dare ask for anything. They offered him a weird purse of money that never ran out of gold coins. But he did not want it, because he did not even know what money was. And just to play with it, he did not want, because money was dead, and he had live cattle and sheep that were precious to him above all. When the fairies saw this, they said to him:
“When you go home in the evening, you will hear from the sea, ringing of all sorts of bells, but do not look back during the journey until you get home.”
They said this and disappeared.
Only now did the boy realize that these were not ordinary girls, like others, but rather fairies.
Halfway through the way home, the boy could not withstand all the noise behind him and turned around. And what did he notice? From the sea, a whole herd of cows, sheep and goats was curving. But because he turned around, the spell was broken and the shepherd got only half of his new herd of animals. And what about it! Now he had greater wealth than he could ever have dreamed and lived happily until the end of his days.
Source: Image of Three fairies