High above the city stood the statue of a prince, which was gilded with gold. For eyes he had two bright sapphires and a red ruby glowed on his sword hilt. One night, a swallow came to rest on the feet of the statue. The prince said to the swallow, “Will you give the ruby in my sword hilt to the woman living there as her little boy is very ill.” The woman sewed for a living. The swallow reached the poor woman’s house and laid the ruby beside her thimble. The prince asked the swallow to give one of his sapphire eyes to a man who was feeling cold. Then he asked the swallow to give his other eye to a poor girl who was hungry and had not eaten for days. He told the swallow to take off all his gold and give it to the poor.

In winter, the swallow died and soon the leaden heart of the prince broke and the statue fell down. When God asked his angels to bring him the two most precious things, they brought the leaden heart and the dead bird.

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