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Hansel and Gretel

"You silly goose!" said the hag, "the opening is big enough; see, I could get in myself," and she crawled toward it, and poked her head into the oven. Then Gretel gave her a shove that sent her right in, shut the iron door, and drew the bolt. Gracious! how she yelled, it was quite horrible; but Gretel fled, and the wretched old woman was left to perish miserably. Gretel flew straight to Hansel, opened the little stable door, and cried: "Hansel, we are free; the old witch is dead!" Then Hansel sprang like a bird out of a cage when the door is opened. How they rejoiced, and fell on each other's necks, and jumped for joy, and kissed one another! And as they had no longer any cause for fear, they went in the old hag's house, and here they found, in every corner of the room, boxes with pearls and precious stones. "These are even better than pebbles," said Hansel, and crammed his pockets full of them; and Gretel said: "I too will bring something home," and she filled her apron full. "But now," said Hansel, "let's go and get well away from the witch's wood." When they had wandered about for some hours they came to a big lake.



"We can't get over," said Hansel; "I see no bridge of any sort or kind." "Yes, and there's no ferry-boat either," answered Gretel; "But look, there swims a white duck; if I ask her she'll help us over," and she called out:
"Here are two children, mournful very,
Seeing neither bridge nor ferry;
Take us upon your white back,
And row us over, quack, quack!"
The duck swam toward them, and Hansel got on her back and bade his little sister sit beside him. &'147;No," answered Gretel, "We should be too heavy a load for the duck: she shall carry us across separately." The good bird did this, and when they were landed safely on the other side, and had gone for a while, the wood became more and more familiar to them, and at length they saw their father's house in the distance. Then they set off to run, and bounding into the room fell on their father's neck. The man had not passed a happy hour since he left them in the wood, but the woman had died. Gretel shook out her apron so that the pearls and precious stones rolled about the room, and Hansel threw down one handful after the other out of his pocket. Thus all their troubles were ended, and they lived happily ever afterward.

       



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