The three boys are characters, also known as the Three Spirits, in Wolfgang Mozart's opera The Magic Flute. These mysterious beings appear first as guides, apparently sent by the Queen of the Night to lead Tamino and Papageno in their quest to rescue Pamina from Sarastro. Later in the opera, however, they show no sign of being in the service of the Queen. Ingmar Bergman, in his 1975 adaptation, eliminates the seeming contradiction. In his version, the boys introduce themselves instead of being introduced by the Three Ladies, servants of the Star-spangled Queen. Apparently, they were never in her service after all. In both versions, it is clear that the three Spirits are working for life and against death. They counsel Tamino to be brave, steadfast and silent. They save both Pamina and Papageno from suicide and show them the correct course to follow.
In the opera, they have no names, but Guy Davenport, in some of his stories, named them Buckeye, Quark and Tumble. Their songs are in the style of Christmas carols. They sing in treble, mezzo-soprano, and alto. The roles are sometimes performed by women singers, sometimes by boy singers.