92 GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES.
When they had journeyed a few hours they came to a great piece of water.
" We can never get across this," said Hansel, " I see no stepping-stones and no bridge."
" And there is no boat either," said Grethel; " but here comes a white duck ; if I ask her she will help us over." So she cried,
" Duck, duck, here we stand, Hansel and Grethel, on the land, Stepping-stones and bridge we lack, Carry us over on your nice white back."
And the duck came accordingly, and Hansel got upon her and told his sister to come too.
" No," answered Grethel, " that would be too hard upon the duck; we can go separately, one after the other."
And that was how it was managed, and after that they went on happily, until they came to the wood, and the way grew more and more familiar, till at last they saw in the distance their father's house. Then they ran till they came up to it, rushed in at the door, and fell on their father's neck. The man had not had a quiet hour since he left his children in the wood; but the wife was dead. And when Grethel opened her apron the pearls and precious stones were scattered all over the room, and Hansel took one handful after another out of his pocket. Then was all care at an end, and they lived in great joy together.