iv'ry, Mikale an' iv'ry, Mikale an' iv'ry, Mikale an' iv'ry, whyou, whyou, whyou, whyou, whyou wife gwine ter die." De King jump up an'
call de buggy, an' jump in an' tek de Peafowl in, an' all de horses was richly decked, an' all de company very fine, dey dribe de Peafowl home, an' dat why de Peafowl hav such a beautiful dress.
HANSEL AND GRETHEL
By William and Jacob Grimm
ONCE upon a time there dwelt near a large wood a poor woodcutter with his wife and two children by his former marriage, a little boy called Hansel and a girl named Grethel. He had little enough to break or bite, and once, when there was a great famine in the land, he could not procure even his daily bread; and as he lay thinking in his bed one evening, rolling about for trouble, he sighed, and said to his wife, "What will become of us? How can we feed our children when we have no more than we can eat ourselves?"
"Know, then, my husband," answered she, "we will lead them away quite early in the morning into the thickest part of the wood, and there make them a fire, and give them each a little piece of bread; then we will go to our work and leave them alone, so they will not find the way home again and we shall be freed from them." "No, wife," replied he, "that I can never do; how can you bring your heart to leave my children all alone in the wood, for the wild beasts will soon come and tear them to pieces?"
"Oh, you simpleton!" said she, "then we must all four die of hunger; you had better plane the coffins for us." But she left him no peace till he consented saying, "Ah, but I shall regret the poor children."
The two children, however, had not gone to sleep for very hunger, and so they overheard what the stepmother said to their father. Grethel wept bitterly, and said to Hansel, "What will become of us?" "Be quiet, Grethel," said he; "do not cry, I will soon help you." And as soon as their parents had fallen asleep, he got up, put on his coat, and, unbarring the back door, slipped out. The moon shone brightly, and the white pebbles which lay before the door seemed like silver pieces, they glittered so brightly. Hansel stooped down, and put as many into his pocket as it would hold, and then going back he said to Grethel, "Be comforted, dear sister, and sleep in peace; God will not forsake us;" and so saying he went to bed again.
The next morning, before the sun arose, the wife went and awoke the two children. "Get up, you lazy things; we are going into the forest to chop wood." Then she gave them each a piece of bread, saying, "There is something for your dinner; do not eat it before the time, for you will get nothing else." Grethel took the bread in her apron, for Hansel's pocket was full of pebbles; and so they all set out upon their way. When they had gone a little distance Hansel stood still, and peeped back at the house; and this he repeated several times, till his father said, "Hansel, what are you peeping at, and why do you lag behind? Take care, and remember your legs."
"Ah! father," said Hansel, "I am looking at my white cat sitting upon the roof of the house, and trying to say good-by." "You simpleton!"
said the wife, "that is not a cat; it is only the sun shining on the white chimney." But in reality Hansel was not looking at a cat; but every time he stopped he dropped a pebble out of his pocket upon the path.
When they came to the middle of the wood the father told the children to collect wood, and he would make them a fire, so that they should not be cold; so Hansel and Grethel gathered together quite a little mountain of twigs. Then they set fire to them, and as the flame burned up high the wife said, "Now, you children, lie down near the fire and rest yourself, while we go into the forest and chop Wood; when we are ready, I will come and call you."
Hansel and Grethel sat down by the fire, and when it was noon each ate the piece of bread, and, because they could hear the blows of an ax, they thought their father was near; but it was not an ax, but a branch which he had bound to a withered tree, so as to be blown to and fro by the wind. They waited so long that at last their eyes closed from weariness, and they fell fast asleep. When they awoke it was quite dark, and Grethel began to cry; "How shall we get out of the wood?"
But Hansel tried to comfort her by saying, "Wait a little while till the moon rises, and then we will quickly find the way." The moon soon shone forth, and Hansel, taking his sister's hand, followed the pebbles, which glittered like new-coined silver pieces, and showed them the path. All night long they walked on, and as day broke they came to their father's house. They knocked at the door, and when the wife opened it, and saw Hansel and Grethel, she exclaimed, "You wicked children! why did you sleep so long in the wood? We thought you were never coming home again." But their father was very glad, for it had grieved his heart to leave them all alone.
Not long afterward there was again great scarcity in every corner of the land; and one night the children overheard their mother saying to their father, "Everything is again consumed; we have only half a loaf left, and then the song is ended: the children must be sent away. We will take them deeper into the wood, so that they may not find the way out again; it is the only means of escape for us."
But her husband felt heavy at heart, and thought, "It were better to share the last crust with the children." His wife, however, would listen to nothing that he said and scolded and, reproached him without end. He who says A must say B too; and he who consents the first time must also the second.
The children, however, had heard the conversation as they lay awake, and as soon as the old people went to sleep Hansel got up intending' to pick up some pebbles as before; but the wife had locked the door, so that he could not get out. Nevertheless he comforted Grethel, saying, "Do not cry; sleep in quiet; the good God will not forsake us."
Early in the morning the stepmother came and pulled them out of bed, and gave them each a slice of bread, which was still smaller than the former piece. On the way Hansel broke his in his pocket, and, stopping every now and then, dropped a crumb upon the path. "Hansel, why do you stop and look about?" said the father. "Keep in the path." - "I am looking at my little dove," answered Hansel, "nodding a good-by to me."
"Simpleton!" said the wife, "that is no dove, but only the sun shining on the chimney."
So Hansel kept still dropping crumbs as he went along.
The mother led the children deep into the wood, where they had never been before, and there making an immense fire, she said to them, "Sit down here and rest, and when you feel tired you can sleep for a little while. We are going into the forest to hew wood, and in the evening, when we are ready, we will come and fetch you."
When noon came Grethel shared her bread with Hansel, who had strewn his on the path. Then they went to sleep; but the evening arrived, and no one came to visit the poor children, and in the dark night they awoke, and Hansel comforted his sister by saying, "Only wait, Grethel, till the moon comes out, then we shall see the crumbs of bread which I have dropped, and they will show us the way home." The moon shone and they got up, but they could not see any crumbs, for the thousands of birds which had been flying about in the woods and fields had picked them all up. Hansel kept saying to Grethel, "We will soon find the way"; but they did not, and they walked the whole night long and the next day, but still they did not come out of the wood; and they got so hungry, for they had nothing to eat but the berries which they found upon the bushes.
Soon they got so tired that they could not drag themselves along, so they laid down under a tree and went to sleep.
It was now the third morning since they had left their father's house, and they still walked on; but they only got deeper and deeper into the wood, and Hansel saw that if help did not come very soon they would die of hunger.
As soon as it was noon they saw a beautiful snow-white bird sitting upon a bough which sang so sweetly that they stood still and listened to it. It soon left off, and spreading its wings, flew off; and they followed it until it arrived at a cottage, upon the roof of which it perched; and when they went close up to it they saw that the cottage was made of bread and cakes, and the windowpanes were of clear sugar.
"We will go in there," said Hansel, "and have a glorious feast. I will eat a piece of the roof, and you can eat the window. Will they not be sweet?" So Hansel reached up and broke a piece off the roof, in order to see how it tasted; while Grethel stepped up to the window and began to bite it. Then a sweet voice called out in the room, "Tip-tap, tip- tap, who raps at my door?" and the children answered, "The wind, the wind, the child of heaven"; and they went on eating without interruption. Hansel thought the roof tasted very nice, and so he tore off a great piece; while Grethel broke a large round pane out of the window, and sat down quite contentedly. Just then the door opened, and a very old woman, walking upon crutches, came out. Hansel and Grethel were so frightened that they let fall what they had in their hands; but the old woman, nodding her head, said, "Ah, you dear children, what has brought you here? Come in and stop with me, and no harm shall befall you;" and so saying she took them both by the hand, and led them into her cottage. A good meal of milk and pancakes, with sugar, apples, and nuts, was spread on the table, and in the back room were two nice little beds, covered with white, where Hansel and Grethel laid themselves down, and thought themselves in heaven. The old woman had behaved very kindly to them, but in reality she was a wicked witch who waylaid children, and built the bread house in order to entice them in; but as soon as they were in her power she killed them, cooked and ate them, and made a great festival of the day. Witches have red eyes, and cannot see very far; but they have a fine sense of smelling, like wild beasts, so that they know when children approach them. When Hansel and Grethel came near the witch's house she laughed wickedly, saying, "Here come two who shall not escape me." And early in the morning, before they awoke, she went up to them, and saw how lovingly they lay sleeping, with their chubby red cheeks; and she mumbled to herself, "That will be a good bite." Then she took up Hansel with her rough hand, and shut him up in a little cage with a lattice door; and although he screamed loudly, it was of no use. Grethel came next, and, shaking her till she awoke, she said, "Get up, you lazy thing, and fetch some water to cook something good for your brother, who must remain in that stall and get fat; when he is fat enough I shall, eat him." Grethel began to cry, but it was all useless, for the old witch made her do as she wished. So a nice meal was cooked for Hansel, but Grethel got nothing else but a crab's claw.
Every morning the old witch came to the cage and said, "Hansel, stretch your finger that I may feel whether you are getting fat." But Hansel used to stretch out a bone, and the old woman, having very bad sight, thought it was his finger, and wondered very much that it did not get fat. When four weeks had passed, and Hansel still kept quite lean, she lost all her patience and would not wait any longer. "Grethel." she called out in a passion, "get some water quickly; be Hansel fat or lean, this morning I will kill and cook him." Oh, how the poor little sister grieved, as she was forced to fetch the water, and how fast the tears ran down her cheeks! "Dear good God, help us now!" she exclaimed. "Had we only been eaten by the wild beasts in the wood then we should have died together." But the old witch called out, "Leave off that noise; it will not help you a bit."
So early in the morning Grethel was forced to go out and fill the kettle, and make a fire. "First we will bake, however," said the old woman; "I have already heated the oven and kneaded the dough"; and so saying she pushed poor Grethel up to the oven, out of which the flames were burning fiercely. "Creep in," said the witch, "and see if it is hot enough, and then we will put in the bread"; but she intended when Grethel got in to shut up the oven and let her bake, so that she might eat her as well as Hansel. Grethel perceived what her thoughts were, and said, "I do not know how to do it; how shall I get in?" "You stupid goose," said she, "the opening is big enough. See, I could even get in myself!" and she got up and put her head into the oven. Then Grethel gave her a push, so that she fell right in, and then shutting the iron door, she bolted it. Oh! how horribly she howled; but Grethel ran away, and left the ungodly witch to burn to ashes.
Now she ran to Hansel, and, opening his door, called out, "Hansel, we are saved; the old witch is dead!" So he sprang out, like a bird out of his cage when the door is opened; and they were so glad that they fell upon each other's neck, and kissed each other over and over again.
And now, as there was nothing to fear, they went into the witch's house, where in every corner were caskets full of pearls and precious stones. "These are better than pebbles," said Hansel, putting as many into his pocket as it would hold; while Grethel thought, "I will take some home, too," and filled her apron full. "We must be off now," said Hansel, "and get out of this bewitched forest"; but when they had walked for two hours they came to a large piece of water. "We cannot get over," said Hansel. "I can see no bridge at all." "And there is no boat either," said Grethel; "but there swims a white duck, I will ask her to help us over;" and she sang,
"Little duck, good little duck,
Grethel and Hansel, here we stand,
There is neither stile nor bridge,
Take us on your back to land."
So the duck came to them, and Hansel sat himself on, and bade his sister sit behind him. "No," answered Grethel, "that will be too much for the duck, she shall take us over one at a time." This the good little bird did, and when both were happily arrived on the other side, and had gone a little way, they came to a well-known wood, which they knew the better every step they went, and at last they perceived their father's house. Then they began to run, and, bursting into the house, they fell on their father's neck. He had not had one happy hour since he had left the children in the forest; and his wife was dead. Grethel shook her apron, and the pearls and precious stones rolled out upon the floor, and Hansel threw down one handful after the other out of his pocket. Then all their sorrows were ended, and they lived together in great happiness.
My tale is done. There runs a mouse; whoever catches her may make a great, great cap out of her fur.
By William and Jacob Grimm
ONCE upon a time there lived a poor peasant, who used to sit every evening by the hearth, poking the fire, while his wife spun. One night he said, "How sad it is that we have no children; everything is so quiet here, while in other houses it is so noisy and merry."
"Ah!" sighed his wife, "if we had but only one, and were he no bigger than my thumb, I should still be content, and love him with all my heart." A little while after the wife fell ill; and after seven months a child was born, who, although he was perfectly formed in all his limbs, was not actually bigger than one's thumb. So they said to one another that it had happened just as they wished; and they called the child "Thumbling." Every day they gave him all the food he could eat; still he did not grow a bit, but remained exactly the height he was when first born; he looked about him, however, very knowingly, and showed himself to be a bold and clever fellow, who prospered in everything he undertook.
One morning the peasant was making ready to go into the forest to fell wood, and said, "Now I wish I had some one who could follow me with the cart."
"Oh! father," exclaimed Thumbling, "I will bring the cart; don't you trouble yourself; it shall be there at the right time."
The father laughed at this speech, and said, "How shall that be? You are much too small to lead the horse by the bridle."
"That matters not, father. If mother will harness the horse, I can sit in his car, and tell him which way to take."
"Well, we will try for once," said the father; and so, when the hour came, the mother harnessed the horse, and placed Thumbling in its ear, and told him how to guide it. Then he set out quite like a man, and the cart went on the right road to the forest; and just as it turned a corner, and Thumbling called out "Steady, steady," two strange men met it; and one said to the other, "My goodness, what is this? Here comes a cart, and the driver keeps calling to the horse; but I can see no one." "That cannot be all right," said the other: "let us follow and see where the cart stops."
The cart went on safely deep into the forest, and straight to the place where the wood was cut. As soon as Thumbling saw his father, he called to him, "Here, father; here I am, you see, with the cart; just take me down." The peasant caught the bridle of the horse with his left hand, and with his right took his little son out of its ear; and he sat himself down merrily on a straw. When the two strangers saw the little fellow, they knew not what to say for astonishment; and one of them took his companion aside, and said, "This little fellow might make our fortune if we could exhibit him in the towns. Let us buy him." They went up to the peasant, and asked, "Will you sell your son? We will treat him well." "No," replied the man; "he is my heart's delight, and not to be bought for all the money in the world!" But Thumbling, when he heard what was said, climbed up by his father's skirt, and set himself on his shoulder, and whispered in his ear, "Let me go now, and I will soon come back again." So his father gave him to the two men for a fine piece of gold; and they asked him where he would sit. "Oh,"
replied he, "put me on the rim of your hat; and then I can walk round and survey the country. I will not fall off." They did as he wished; and when he had taken leave of his father, they set out. Just as it was getting dark he asked to be lifted down; and, after some demur, the man on whose hat he was, took him off and placed him on the ground. In an instant Thumbling ran off, and crept into a mousehole, where they could not see him. "Good evening, masters," said he, "you can go home without me"; and with a quiet laugh he crept into his hole still further. The two men poked their sticks into the hole, but all in vain; for Thumbling only went down further; and when it had grown quite dark they were obliged to return home full of vexation and with empty pockets.
As soon as Thumbling perceived that they were off, he crawled out of his hiding place, and said, "How dangerous it is to walk in this field in the dark: one might soon break one's head or legs;" and so saying he looked around, and by great good luck saw an empty snail shell. "God be praised," he exclaimed, "here I can sleep securely; and in he went.
Just as he was about to fall asleep he heard two men coming by, one of whom said to the other, "How shall we manage to get at the parson's gold and silver?"
"That I can tell you," interrupted Thumbling.
"What was that?" exclaimed the thief, frightened. "I heard some one speak." They stood still and listened; and then Thumbling said, "Take me with you, and I will help you."
"Where are you?" asked the thieves.
"Search on the ground, and mark where my voice comes from," replied he.
The thief looked about, and at last found him; and lifted him up in the air.