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But Grethel saw the flames roaring round the oven and knew that the old witch meant to shut the door and let her bake, so she said,
"But I don't know how to do it. How shall I get in?"
"You stupid goose," said the old woman, "the opening is big enough. See! I could easily get in myself."
To show Grethel, the old witch got up, and going to the oven, stuck her head into it. Grethel, who had been waiting for this, gave her a push and she fell right in! Then, slamming the door shut, Grethel bolted it and left the witch to her misery.
As soon as the oven door was bolted tight, Grethel ran to the stall where her brother was and called out,
"O Hansel, Hansel, we are saved; the old witch is dead."
When she had opened the door, Hansel sprang out like a bird from its cage, and they danced about and kissed each other again and again.
Then, as there was nothing to fear, they ran all over the witch's house, where in every corner they found caskets of pearls and diamonds and other precious stones.
"These are much better than white pebbles," said Hansel, as he filled his pockets as full as thev could hold.
"I'll take some, too," said Grethel, and she put into her apron all she could carry.
"Now we must be off for home again," said Hansel. "We must get out of this awful forest as soon as we can."
When they had walked for two long hours, they came to a big stream of water.
"I see no bridge, anywhere," said Hansel. "We cannot get over."
"And there is no boat, either," said Grethel. "But there swims a beautiful white duck; I will ask her to help us over if she can." Then she sang:
"Little duck, little duck,
With broad white wings;
Little duck, little duck,
With broad white wings;
'Tis your Grethel sings:
Take us on your strong white back,
Take us to the other shore."
The duck paddled over to them, and Hansel, taking a seat on its back, asked Grethel to get up behind him.
"No," said Grethel, "that would be too much for the little duck. She must take us over one at a time."
When both were safely on the other side and had gone a little way, they found themselves in a wellknown part of the woods, and pretty soon they saw the smoke from the chimney of their father's house. Then they began to run, and bursting into the room they climbed into their father's lap and hugged and kissed him till he was nearly smothered. He was the happiest man in the world, for not one comfortable hour had he known since he left the children in the wood. Besides, his wife had died, and he was living alone in the house.
Then Grethel shook her apron, and the pearls and diamonds and other precious stones rolled out in every direction on the floor, and Hansel pulled out of his pockets one handful after another, till the whole table was covered with the glistening things.
Now were their troubles all ended, and they lived together happily ever afterward.
Now my story is done. There runs a mouse. Catch it and make a cap out of its fur.
THE LION, THE FOX AND THE ASS
ONE day, when a Fox and an Ass were strolling along together, they were met by a fierce and hungry Lion.
The terrified Fox ran cringing up to the Lion, and whispered into his ear: "Dear Mr. Lion, don't you see how young and plump that Ass is over there? If you would like to make a dinner of him, I'll show you a pitfall near by into which we can lead him without any trouble. Shall we do it?"
The Lion very readily agreed, though he kept one sage eye resting on the Fox all the time. The latter, however, was as good as his word, and led the Ass along till it stumbled and fell into the deep pit.
When the Lion saw that the Ass was secured and could be killed and eaten at leisure, he slew the treacherous Fox with a single blow and took the body for the first course in his dinner.
Adapted from Charles Perrault
S^ONG ago there lived a very rich gentleman whose beloved wife died quite suddenly, leaving in his care a young daughter, who in gentleness of disposition and beauty of face was the exact likeness of her mother. Both father and daughter mourned very deeply over their loss, and for a long time lived quietly together.
Then the father, thinking that his little girl needed more attention and care than he was able to give her. married a beautiful widow to whom he had become very much attached. Unfortunately, however, the lady whom he married was proud, and the most haughty woman ever known. Nothing seemed to please her, and no matter how polite people were to her, she treated them with insult and disdain. Moreover, she had two daughters of her own, whom