Hansel and Grethelpage 2 / 7
When they had reached the middle of the forest, the father said, “now, children, pile up some wood, and I will light a fire that you may not be cold.” Hansel and Gretel gathered brushwood together, as high as a little hill. The brushwood was lighted, and when the flames were burning very high, the woman said, “now, children, lay yourselves down by the fire and rest, we will go into the forest and cut some wood. When we have done, we will come back and fetch you away.”
Hansel and Gretel sat by the fire, and when noon came, each ate a little piece of bread, and as they heard the strokes of the wood-axe they believed that their father was near. It was not the axe, however, but a branch which he had fastened to a withered tree which the wind was blowing backwards and forwards. And as they had been sitting such a long time, their eyes closed with fatigue, and they fell fast asleep. When at last they awoke, it was already dark night. Gretel began to cry and said, “how are we to get out of the forest now?” But Hansel comforted her and said, “just wait a little, until the moon has risen, and then we will soon find the way.” And when the full moon had risen, Hansel took his little sister by the hand, and followed the pebbles which shone like newly-coined silver pieces, and showed them the way.
They walked the whole night long, and by break of day came once more to their father's house. They knocked at the door, and when the woman opened it and saw that it was Hansel and Gretel, she said, “you naughty children, why have you slept so long in the forest. We thought you were never coming back at all.” The father, however, rejoiced, for it had cut him to the heart to leave them behind alone.
Not long afterwards, there was once more great dearth throughout the land, and the children heard their mother saying at night to their father, “everything is eaten again, we have one half loaf left, and that is the end. The children must go, we will take them farther into the wood, so that they will not find their way out again. There is no other means of saving ourselves.” The man's heart was heavy, and he thought, “it would be better for you to share the last mouthful with your children.” The woman, however, would listen to nothing that he had to say, but scolded and reproached him. He who says a must say b, likewise, and as he had yielded the first time, he had to do so a second time also.