HANSEL AND GRETHEL.
" I will carry some home too," said Grethel, and she held out her apron, which held quite as much as Hansel's pockets.
" We will go now," he said, " and get away as soon as we can from this enchanted forest."
They had been walking for nearly two hours when they came to a large piece of water. " What shall we do now ?" said the boy, " We cannot get across, and there is no bridge of any sort."
ft Oh ! here comes a boat," cried Grethel, but she was mistaken, it was only a white duck who came swimming towards the children. " Perhaps she will help us across if we ask her," said the child, and she sung, " Little Duck, do help poor Hansel and Grethel; there is not a bridge, nor a boatówill you let us sail across on your white back ?"
The good-natured duck came near the bank as Grethel spoke, so close indeed that Hansel could seat himself and wanted to take his little sister on his lap, but she said, " No, we shall be too heavy for the kind duck, let her take us over one at a time."
The good creature did as the children wished, she carried Grethel over first and then came back for Hansel. And then how happy the children were to find themselves in a part of the wood which they remembered quite well, and as they walked on, the more familiar it became, till at last they caught sight of their father's house. Then they began to run, and bursting into the room, threw themselves into their father's arms.
Poor man. he had not had a moment's peace since the children had been left alone in the forest; he was full of joy at finding them safe and well again, and now they had nothing to fear, for their wicked stepmother was dead.
But how surprised the poor wood-cutter was when Grethel opened and shook her little apron to see the glittering pearls and precious stones scattered about the room, while Hansel drew hand≠ful after handful from his pockets. From this moment all his care and sorrow was at an end, and the father lived in happiness with his children till his death.