The Pink Fairy Book HTML version

The House in the Wood
A poor woodcutter lived with his wife and three daughters in a little hut on the borders of
a great forest.
One morning as he was going to his work, he said to his wife, 'Let our eldest daughter
bring me my lunch into the wood; and so that she shall not lose her way, I will take a bag
of millet with me, and sprinkle the seed on the path.'
When the sun had risen high over the forest, the girl set out with a basin of soup. But the
field and wood sparrows, the larks and finches, blackbirds and green finches had picked
up the millet long ago, and the girl could not find her way.
She went on and on, till the sun set and night came on. The trees rustled in the darkness,
the owls hooted, and she began to be very much frightened. Then she saw in tile distance
a light that twinkled between the trees. 'There must be people living yonder,' she thought,
'who will take me in for the night,' and she began walking towards it.
Not long afterwards she came to a house with lights in the windows.
She knocked at the door, and a gruff voice called, 'Come in!'
The girl stepped into the dark entrance, and tapped at the door of the room.
'Just walk in,' cried the voice, and when she opened the door there sat an old gray-haired
man at the table. His face was resting on his hands, and his white beard flowed over the
table almost down to the ground.
By the stove lay three beasts, a hen, a cock, and a brindled cow. The girl told the old man
her story, and asked for a night's lodging.
The man said:
Pretty cock,
Pretty hen,
And you, pretty brindled cow,
What do you say now?
'Duks,' answered the beasts; and that must have meant, 'We are quite willing,' for the old
man went on, 'Here is abundance; go into the back kitchen and cook us a supper.'
The girl found plenty of everything in the kitchen, and cooked a good meal, but she did
not think of the beasts.
She placed the full dishes on the table, sat down opposite the gray-haired man, and ate till
her hunger was appeased.
When she was satisfied, she said, 'But now I am so tired, where is a bed in which I can
sleep? '