236 LITTLE THUMB
long way from the forest. He came down, and, when upon the ground, he could see it no more, which grieved him sadly. However, having walked for some time with his brothers towards that side on which he had seen the light, he perceived it again as he came out of the wood.
They came at last to the house where this candle was, not without an abundance of fear: for very often they lost sight of it, which happened every time they came into a bottom. They knocked at the door, and a good woman came and opened it; she asked them what they would have.
Little Thumb told her they were poor children who had been lost in the forest, and desired to lodge there for God's sake
The woman, seeing them so very pretty, began to weep, and said to them:
' Alas ! poor babies ; whither are ye come ? Do ye know that this house belongs to a cruel ogre who eats up little children ?'
' Ah ! dear madam,' answered Little Thumb (who trembled every joint of him, as well as his brothers), ' what shall we do ? To be sure the wolves of the forest will devour us to-night if you refuse us to lie here; and so we would rather the gentleman should eat us; and perhaps he may take pity upon us, especially if you please to beg it of him.'
The Ogre's wife, who believed she could conceal them from her husband till morning, let them come in, and brought them to warm themselves at a very good fire; for there was a whole sheep upon the spit, roasting for the Ogre's supper.
As they began to be a little warm they heard three or four great taps at the door; this was the Ogre, who was come home. Upon this she hid them under the bed and went to open the door. The Ogre presently asked if supper was ready and the wine drawn, and then sat himself down to table. The sheep was as yet all raw and bloody; but he liked it the better for that. He sniffed about to the right and left, saying :
' I smell fresh meat.'
' What you smell so,' said his wife, ' must be the calf which I have just now killed and flayed.'
■ ' I smell fresh meat, I tell thee once more,' replied the Ogre, looking crossly at his wife ; ' and there is something here which I do not understand.'
As he spoke these words he got up from the table and went directly to the bed.