This is my version of an old tale I remember my dad reading to me before bed, when I was very young, probably 40 years ago.
A man was walking through the forest near his home one day when suddenly a giant bird swooped down and grabbed the shoulders of his shirt with its large talons and flew off! Stunned, the man watched the colorful houses and trees pass by quickly below him. The bird flew higher and higher, up to the top of a tall mountain, up, up, and over the top. A valley appeared on the other side of the mountain, which the man had never seen before.
The bird swooped down and dropped him off in this strange land.
He spent the day exploring the strange new place he found himself. It was filled with new birds and animals he had never seen before. The ground was covered in tiny pebbles – the man thought to himself that he really should bring something back to show people back home, so he picked up two handfuls of pebbles and put them in his pockets.
After a few hours of exploring, the man wondered how he could return home again, when he spotted the giant bird that had grabbed him originally. He sneaked up to the bird and leaped towards it. The bird tried to fly out of the way, but not in time; the man grabbed its legs as it flew up into the sky. After flying around in circles for a while, the man discovered he could steer the bird in different directions by moving its legs. He guided the bird back towards his town, down, down to the forest near his home; they landed very close to where they originally started.
He ran home to tell his family. As he recounted the amazing tale, his family seemed pretty doubtful since nothing like that had ever happened to them.
Feeling dejected, the man turned to leave and put his hands into his pockets – and realized he still had the pebbles he picked up earlier! As he pulled them out of his pockets to show his family, he was amazed to discover that they had all turned into valuable gems and jewels.