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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

Do help poor Hansel and Grethel


Grethel,

however, guessed what she wanted to do, and said, "I don't know how to get in through that narrow door."

"Stupid goose," said the old woman, "why, the oven door is quite large enough for me; just look, I could get in myself." As she spoke she stepped forward and pretended to put her head in the oven.

A sudden thought gave Grethel unusual strength; she started forward, gave the old woman a push which sent her right into the oven, then she shut the iron door and fastened the bolt.

Oh! how the old witch did howl, it was quite horrible to hear her. But Grethel ran away, and therefore she was left to burn, just as she had left many poor little children to burn. And how quickly Grethel ran to Hansel, opened the door of his cage, and cried, "Hansel, Hansel, we are free; the old witch is dead." He flew like a bird out of his cage at these words as soon as the door was opened, and the children were so overjoyed that they ran into each other's arms, and kissed each other with the greatest love.

And now that there was nothing to be afraid of, they went back into the house, and while looking round the old witch's room, they saw an old oak chest, which they opened, and found it full of pearls and precious stones. "These are better than pebbles," said Hansel; and he filled his pockets as full as they would hold.

"I will

carry some home too," said Grethel, and she held out her apron, which held quite as much as Hansel's pockets.

"We will go now," he said, "and get away as soon as we can from this enchanted forest."

They had been walking for nearly two hours when they came to a large sheet of water.

"What shall we do now?" said the boy. "We cannot get across, and there is no bridge of any sort."

"Oh! here comes a boat," cried Grethel, but she was mistaken; it was only a white duck which came swimming towards the children. "Perhaps she will help us across if we ask her," said the child; and she sung, "Little duck, do help poor Hansel and Grethel; there is not a bridge, nor a boat--will you let us sail across on your white back?"

The good-natured duck came near the bank as Grethel spoke, so close indeed that Hansel could seat himself and wanted to take his little sister on his lap, but she said, "No, we shall be too heavy for the kind duck; let her take us over one at a time."

The good creature did as the children wished; she carried Grethel over first, and then came back for Hansel. And then how happy the children were to find themselves in a part of the wood which they remembered quite well, and as they walked on, the more familiar it became, till at last they caught sight of their father's house. Then they began to run, and, bursting into the room, threw themselves into their father's arms.

Poor man, he had not had a moment's peace since the children had been left alone in the forest; he was full of joy at finding them safe and well again, and now they had nothing to fear, for their wicked stepmother was dead.


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