A king can’t figure out who’s stealing golden apples from his special golden apple tree, so he asks his three sons to keep watch. The first two fall asleep, but the third spies a golden bird taking the apples, and snags some of its feathers, which are deemed to be very precious. Each son sets out in search of the coveted golden bird, but the first two ignore the advice of a talking fox and end up wasting time at an inn full of merriment. The third son listens to the fox and almost gets the golden bird, except he’s caught by the king of that land. He’s sentenced to death unless he can bring back a horse as fast as the wind. The fox helps him with this task, too, but he’s caught again and sentenced to death unless he can bring back a beautiful princess for another king. Again the fox helps the prince, and he makes off with the princess, the horse, and the golden bird successfully. The fox leaves the prince, giving some advice that the prince again does not follow: he finds his brothers sentenced to death, but buys their lives back. They betray him, and once again the fox bails him out. The traitorous brothers are executed, while the prince marries the maiden. The fox comes to the now king one last time, asking him to kill it, which the king hesitates to do because the fox has helped him so much. But when the king relents, the fox is transformed into a human, since he had been under an enchantment, and is actually the princess’s brother. Everyone rejoices.