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This story is suitable for children age 6 to 8 approx.
A story from the Brothers Grimm.
Start of Story
Once upon a time there was a widow who had two daughters; one of them
was beautiful and industrious, the other ugly and lazy. The mother,
however, loved the ugly and lazy one best, because she was her own
daughter, and so the other, who was only her stepdaughter, was made
to do all the work of the house, and was quite the Cinderella of the
family. Her stepmother sent her out every day to sit by the well in
the high road, there to spin until she made her fingers bleed. Now it
chanced one day that some blood fell on to the spindle, and as the girl
stopped over the well to wash it off, the spindle suddenly sprang out
of her hand and fell into the well. She ran home crying to tell of her
misfortune, but her stepmother spoke harshly to her, and after giving
her a violent scolding, said unkindly, 'As you have let the spindle fall
into the well you may go yourself and fetch it out.'
The girl went back to the well not knowing what to do, and at last in
her distress she jumped into the water after the spindle.
She remembered nothing more until she awoke and found herself in a
beautiful meadow, full of sunshine, and with countless flowers blooming
in every direction.
She walked over the meadow, and presently she came upon a baker's oven
full of bread, and the loaves cried out to her, 'Take us out, take us
out, or alas! we shall be burnt to a cinder; we were baked through long
ago.' So she took the bread-shovel and drew them all out.
She went on a little farther, till she came to a free full of apples.
'Shake me, shake me, I pray,' cried the tree; 'my apples, one and all,
' So she shook the tree, and the apples came falling down upon
her like rain; but she continued shaking until there was not a single
apple left upon it. Then she carefully gathered the apples together in a
heap and walked on again.
The next thing she came to was a little house, and there she saw an old
woman looking out, with such large teeth, that she was terrified, and
turned to run away. But the old woman called after her, 'What are you
afraid of, dear child? Stay with me; if you will do the work of my house
properly for me, I will make you very happy. You must be very careful,
however, to make my bed in the right way, for I wish you always to shake
it thoroughly, so that the feathers fly about; then they say, down there
in the world, that it is snowing; for I am Mother Holle.
' The old woman
spoke so kindly, that the girl summoned up courage and agreed to enter
into her service.
She took care to do everything according to the old woman's bidding and
every time she made the bed she shook it with all her might, so that the
feathers flew about like so many snowflakes. The old woman was as good
as her word: she never spoke angrily to her, and gave her roast and
boiled meats every day.
So she stayed on with Mother Holle for some time, and then she began
to grow unhappy. She could not at first tell why she felt sad, but she
became conscious at last of great longing to go home; then she knew she
was homesick, although she was a thousand times better off with Mother
Holle than with her mother and sister.