HANSEL AND GRETHEL.
still deeper into the wood, and knew that if no help came they must starve.
About noon, they saw a beautiful snow-white bird sitting on the branch of a tree, and singing so beautifully that they stood still to listen. When he had finished his song, he spread out his wings and flew on before them. The children followed him, till at last they saw at a distance a small house, and the bird flew and perched on the roof.
But how surprised were the boy and girl when they came nearer, to find that the house was built of gingerbread, and ornamented with sweet cakes and tarts, while the window was formed of barley sugar. " Oh," exclaimed Hansel, "let us stop here and have a splendid feast. I will have a piece from the roof first, Grethel, and you can eat some of the barley sugar window, it tastes so nice." Hansel reached up on tiptoe, and breaking off a piece of the gingerbread he began to eat with all his might, for he was very hungry. Grethel seated herself on the doorstep, and began munching away at the cakes of which it was made. Presently a voice came out of the cottage—
" Munching, crunching, munching, Who's eating up my house ?"
Then answered the children—
"The wind, the wind, Only the wind,"
and went on eating as if they never meant to leave off without a suspicion of wrong. Hansel, who found the cake on the roof taste very good, broke off another large piece, and Grethel had just taken out a whole pane of barley sugar from the window, and seated herself to eat it, when the door opened, and a strange looking old woman came out leaning on a stick.
Hansel and Grethel were so frightened that they let fall what they held in their hands. The old woman shook her head at them and said, "Ah, you dear children, who has brought you here? come in and stay with me for a little while and there shall no harm happen to you.'J She seized them both by the hands as she spoke and led them into the house. She gave them for supper plenty to eat and drink—milk and pancakes, and sugar, apples and nuts ; and when evening came, Hansel and Grefhel were shown two