The Washerman's Story (p. 58)

calls for but slight remark. The fairies who alighted in suc­cession on the tree in the form of doves, and putting off their feather-dress appeared as the most beautiful damsels, belong, of course, to the Bird-Maiden class, and the Washerman, by his own showing, did not deserve to possess any one of them. Could he have decided—but perhaps the trial was too much for him—he might have secured even the last and most bewitching of the three, by taking possession of her feather-robe, when she would have no alternative but to follow him wheresoever he might go: but evidently he did not know this. (See the chapter on “Bird-Maidens” in my Popular Tales and Fictions, vol. i. p. 182 ff.)