The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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heated, so that we can shove in the bread.' For when she had got Grettel in she meant to close the oven and let the girl bake, that she might eat her up too. But Grettel perceived her inten­tion, and spoke : ' I don't know how I'm to do it; how do I get in?' ' You silly goose ! ' said the hag, ' the opening is big enough; see, I could get in myself; ' and she crawled towards it, and poked her head into the oven. Then Grettel 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 Grettel fled, and the wretched old woman was left to perish miserably.
Grettel 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 into the old hag's house, and there 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 Grettel 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 witches' 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 Grettel; ' 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 towards them, and Hansel got on her back and bade his little sister sit beside him. ' No,' answered Grettel, ' 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 on 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. Grettel shook out her apron so that the pearls
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