THE WIDO W'S TWO DAUGHTERS.
and at last there was not one more left upon it. After this she gathered the apples into one large heap, and went on farther.
At last she came to a small house, and looking earnestly at it, she saw an old woman peeping out, who had such large teeth that the girl was quite frightened, and turned to run away.
But the old woman cried after her, " What dost thou fear, dear child ? Come and live here with me, and do all the work in the house, and I will make you so happy. You must, however, take care to make my bed well, and to shake it with energy, for then the feathers fly about, and in the world they will say it snows, for I am Mother Holle."
As the old woman talked in this kind manner, she won the maiden's heart, so that she readily agreed to enter her service.
She was very anxious to keep friendly with her, and took care to shake up the bed well, so that the feathers might fly down like snow flakes. Thereiore she had a very happy life with Mother Holle. She had plenty to eat and drink, and never heard an angry word.
But after she had stayed a long time with the kind old woman, she began to feel sad, and could not explain to herself why, till at last she discovered that she was home sick. And it seemed to her a thousand times better to go home than to stay with Mother Holle, although she made her so happy.
And the longing to go home grew so strong that at last she was obliged to speak.
"Dear Mother Holle," she said, "you have been very kind to me, but I have such sorrow in my heart that I cannot stay here any longer; I must return to my own people."
"Then," said Mother Holle, "I am pleased to hear that you are longing to go home, and as you have served me so well and truly, I will show you the way myself."
So she took her by the hand, and led her to a broad gateway. The gate was open, and as the young girl passed through, there fell upon her a shower of gold, which clung to her dress, and remained hanging to it, so that she was bedecked with gold from head to foot.
" That is your reward for having been so industrious f and as the old woman spoke she placed in her hand the spindle which had fallen into the well.