GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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There were once a man and a woman who wished very much to have a little child. Now these people had a small window in their cottage which looked out into a beautiful garden full of the most lovely flowers and vegetables. There was a high wall round it, but even had there not been, no one would have ventured to enter the garden, because it belonged to a sorceress, whose power was so great that every one feared her.
One day the woman stood at the window looking into the garden, and she saw a bed which was planted full of most beautiful lettuces. As she looked at them, she began to wish she had some to eat, but she could not ask for them.
Day after day her wish for these lettuces grew stronger, and the knowledge that she could not get them so worried her, that at last she became so pale and thin that her husband was quite alarmed. " What is the matter with you, dear wife ?" he asked one day.
"Ah!" she said, "if I do not have some of that nice lettuce which grows in the garden behind our house, I feel that I shall die."
The husband, who loved his wife dearly, said to himself, " Rather than my wife should die, I will get some of this lettuce for her, cost what it may."
So in the evening twilight he climbed over the wall into the garden of the witch, hastily gathered a handful of the lettuces, and brought them to his wife. She made it into a salad, and ate it with great eagerness.
It pleased her so much and tasted so good that after two or three days had passed, she gave her husband no rest till he pro­mised to get her some more. So again in the evening twilight he climbed the wall, but as he slid down into the garden on the other side he was terribly alarmed at seeing the witch standing near him. " How came you here ?" she said with a fierce look. 11 You have climbed over the wall into my garden like a thief and stolen my lettuces; you shall pay dearly for this."
"Ah!" replied the poor man, "let me entreat for mercy, I