There once was a peasant who had a son. His wife had left him and he could not afford to raise his son, because he was a very poor peasant indeed. So he travelled around and searched for a home for his son whom he loved dearly. He searched and searched the surrounding towns and cities. Until one day (a few years later) he happened upon a man who housed many young boys in an orphanage. What the peasant did not know is that this man was the devil himself. And now the devil would raise his young boy.
About a year later the peasant went back to the orphanage to retrieve his boy. But when he got there to his dismay he could not distinguish his son from the other boys. The devil was aware of this and planned to tell the peasant to pick out his son, but if he could not the son would be his forever. The son knew of this plan (as he had seen it happen to many of his friends) so while the devil was not looking he went to his father and told him that when all of the boys changed into dogs he would be the golden retriever. The devil came back to the boys and told them to show the peasant their trick and asked the peasant to pick out his son. He correctly identified the golden retriever (his son), so he and his son headed back towards home with joy. The devil realized had had been duped.
On their journey back, the son told his father how he thought they could make some money using his shapeshifting abilities. The peasant agreed. So as they were walking along the path they saw some nobles heading their way. Immediately the son changed into a gigantic, gorgeous pig (it would have won first prize at any modern-day state fair) and the nobles offered the peasant a large sum of money to own him. So the peasant sold his son to the nobles and continued on his way home. A few hours later the son was back with his father. Once the nobles had put him in a pen he transformed into a bird and flew back to his father.
Then they reached the city not far from where the peasant lived. The son turned into a majestic thoroughbred, capable of winning any race. So the peasant to him to be auctioned off. What he did not know is that the devil had realized he was duped and planned to buy back the peasant's son. So in disguise at the auction he won the bid for the prized thoroughbred.
The son had planned to just change back into a bird and return to his father. But the devil took away his shapeshifting abilities. The son would remain a thoroughbred locked up in a stable for the rest of his life, unable to become human again and unable to roam free as a horse. Meanwhile, the peasant patiently waited at his home for his son to return, until he eventually died of remorse. Never do business with the devil.
Bibliography. "Master and Pupil" from Georgian Folk Tales by Marjory Wardrop (1894). Web Source.
*Author's Note: I changed this story some from the original in that in the original story the wife did not leave the peasant. Also, the creatures in which the son shape shifted into varied from the original story. The biggest change of all was that in the original story the peasant and son are able to outwit the devil and live happily ever after, but in my story they do not live happily ever after.
(Golden Retriever Puppy: Image by Laura Retyi from Pixabay)