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Dr. Hope Presents

The Grimm Brothers'

 Fairy Tales


The Hut in the Forest



A poor wood-cutter lived with his wife and three daughters in a little hut on the edge of a lonely forest. One morning as he was about to go to his work, he said to his wife, let our eldest daughter bring me my dinner into the forest, or I shall never get my work done, and in order that she may not miss her way, he added, I will take a bag of millet with me and strew the seeds on the path. When, therefore, the sun was just above the centre of the forest, the girl set out on her way with a bowl of soup, but the field-sparrows, and wood-sparrows, larks and finches, blackbirds and siskins had picked up the millet long before, and the girl could not find the track. Trusting to chance, she went on and on, until the sun sank and night began to fall.


The trees rustled in the darkness, the owls hooted, and she began to be afraid. Then in the distance she perceived a light which glimmered between the trees. There ought to be some people living there, who can take me in for the night, thought she, and went up to the light. It was not long before she came to a house the windows of which were all lighted up. She knocked, and a rough voice from inside cried, come in. The girl stepped into the dark entrance, and knocked at the door of the room. Just come in, cried the voice, and when she opened the door, an old gray-haired man was sitting at the table, supporting his face with both hands, and his white beard fell down over the table almost as far as the ground. By the stove lay three animals, a hen, a cock, and a brindled cow. The girl told her story to the old man, and begged for shelter for the night. The man said, my pretty hen, my pretty cock, my pretty brindled cow, what are you saying now.


Duks, answered the animals, and that must have meant, we are willing, for the old man said, here you shall have shelter and food, go to the fire, and cook us our supper. The girl found in the kitchen abundance of everything, and cooked a good supper, but had no thought of the animals. She carried the full bowl to the table, seated herself by the gray-haired man, ate and satisfied her hunger. When she had had enough, she said, but now I am tired, where is there a bed in which I can lie down, and sleep. The animals replied, thou hast eaten with him, thou hast drunk with him, thou hast had no thought for us, so find out for thyself where thou canst pass the night. Then said the old man, just go upstairs, and you will find a room with two beds, shake them up, and put white linen on them, and then I, too, will come and lie down to sleep. The girl went up, and when she had shaken the beds and put clean sheets on, she lay down in one of them without waiting any longer for the old man.


After some time the gray-haired man came, held his candle over the girl and shook his head. When he saw that she had fallen into a sound sleep, he opened a trap-door, and let her down into the cellar. Late at night, the wood-cutter came home, and reproached his wife for leaving him to hunger all day. It is not my fault, she replied, the girl went out with your dinner, and must have lost herself, but surely she will come back to-morrow. The wood-cutter, however, arose before dawn to go into the forest, and requested that the second daughter should take him his dinner that day. I will take a bag with lentils, said he, the seeds are larger than millet, the girl will see them better, and can't lose her way. At dinner-time, therefore, the girl took out the food, but the lentils had disappeared. The birds of the forest had picked them up as they had done the day before, and had left none.

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