HANSEL AND GRETHEL. 67
" I saw my pigeon sitting on the roof, and he wants to say goodbye to me," replied the boy.
" Nonsense," she said, " that is not your pigeon; it is only the morning sun shining on the chimney top."
But Hansel did not look back any more, he only dropped pieces of bread behind him, as they walked through the wood. This time they went on till they reached the thickest and densest part of the forest where they had never been before in all their lives. Again they gathered faggots and brushwood, of which the stepmother made up a large fire; then she said, " Remain here, children, and rest, while I go to help your father, who is cutting wood in the forest; when you feel tired you can lie down and sleep for a little while, and we will come and fetch you in the evening, when your father has finished his work."
So the children remained alone till mid-day, and then Grethel shared her piece of bread with Hansel, for he had scattered his own all along the road as they walked. After this they slept for awhile, and the evening drew on, but no one came to fetch the poor children. When they awoke it was quite dark, and poor little Grethel was afraid, but Hansel comforted her as he had done before by telling her they need only wait till the moon rose. " You know, little sister," he said, " that I have thrown bread crumbs all along the road we came, and they will easily point out the way home."
But when they went out of the thicket into the moonlight they found no bread crumbs, for the numerous birds which inhabited the trees of the forest had picked them all up.
Hansel tried to hide his fear when he made this sad discovery, and said to his sister, " Cheer up, Grethel, I dare say we shall find our way home without the crumbs ; let us try f but this they found impossible. They wandered about the whole night and the next day from morning till evening, but they could not get out of the wood, and were so hungry that had it not been for a few berries which they picked, they must have starved.
At last they were so tired that their poor little legs could carry them no farther, so they laid themselves down under a tree and went to sleep. When they awoke it was the third morning since they had left their father's house, and they determined to try once more to find their way home; but it was no use, they only went