A mother did not love the youngest of her three pretty daughters. The two oldest daughters had beautiful clothes while the youngest had only old and dirty ones.
The mother had a white cow. When she told her two oldest daughters to take the white cow out to graze she gave them a good meal to take with them. But when she told the youngest daughter to take the white cow out to graze she gave her nothing.
One day the youngest daughter was with the white cow in a forest, she was so hungry that she started to eat some leaves. Suddenly she could understand what animals said. The white cow said, "Mooo! Poor girl, come here. Close your eyes and don't open them until I tell you to."
The girl closed her eyes until the white cow told her to open them again. When she did, she saw a lot of food on the ground. After that day the white cow always fed her. Soon the girl became even more beautiful.
One day her mother discovered how the white cow was giving food to the youngest daughter, and decided to slaughter the white cow.
Next morning when they were far from home, the white cow said, "Your mother and sisters know I'm helping you. They will slaughter me today. Don't be sad. After I die, they'll offer you some of my cooked flesh. Don't eat it, but put some of my flesh and my bones in a bag and put it in the cave near the river. Let three days pass and then come to the cave. You'll then meet someone."
The white cow was slaughtered that afternoon after they returned home. The youngest daughter did exactly as the white cow had told her to do, and after three days she went back to the cave. There was the white cow, and very much alive. The girl was so happy that she burst into tears.
"Don't cry," said the white cow. "I'll help you again. Now you must go home. If not, your mother will know what has happened."
The girl agreed and went home.
Next day the prince of the area invited all the girls of the country to a party. The two oldest daughters dressed up and got ready to go to the party with their mother, and the youngest daughter wanted to go too, and said so. Her mother then threw a handful of barley into the ashes of their cooking fire and said, "When you have put all the barley back in the bowl you may come to the party."
After the mother and her two oldest daughters had left, the girl started weeping. Then the white cow appeared with many birds and very beautiful clothes. "Put on these clothes," said the white cow, "and go to the party with me."
The girl looked at the ash and said, "But I must pick up the barley from the ashes."
The white cow motioned to the birds, and in a thrice the birds had picked up all the barley and put it in the bowl. Not a single grain was left in the ashes.
The girl got very happy, put on the beautiful clothes, mounted the white cow, and soon they reached the party. When she arrived everyone looked at her. No one knew who this beautiful girl on a cow was - not even her mother and her sisters recognised her. The prince noticed her, fell in love with her at once, and danced with her the whole evening.
At the end of the party he asked her to marry him. She said he must ask her mother for permission. Her mother was surprised to learn that the beautiful girl was her youngest daughter. She mumbled, "Uhrrr, yes," since it was the prince.
The prince and the girl later married and lived a happy life with the white cow and had many wonderful talks together.