The Red Fairy Book HTML version
Brother and Sister
BROTHER took sister by the hand and said: `Look here; we haven't had one single happy
hour since our mother died. That stepmother of ours beats us regularly every day, and if
we dare go near her she kicks us away. We never get anything but hard dry crusts to eat--
why, the dog under the table is better off than we are. She does throw him a good morsel
or two now and then. Oh dear! if our own dear mother only knew all about it! Come
along, and let us go forth into the wide world together.'
So off they started through fields and meadows, over hedges and ditches, and walked the
whole day long, and when it rained sister said:
`Heaven and our hearts are weeping together.'
Towards evening they came to a large forest, and were so tired out with hunger and their
long walk, as well as all their trouble, that they crept into a hollow tree and soon fell fast
Next morning, when they woke up, the sun was already high in the heavens and was
shining down bright and warm into the tree. Then said brother:
`I'm so thirsty, sister; if I did but know where to find a little stream, I'd go and have a
drink. I do believe I hear one.' He jumped up, took sister by the hand, and they set off to
hunt for the brook.
Now their cruel stepmother was in reality a witch, and she knew perfectly well that the
two children had run away. She had crept secretly after them, and had cast her spells over
all the streams in the forest.
Presently the children found a little brook dancing and glittering over the stones, and
brother was eager to drink of it, but as it rushed past sister heard it murmmuring:
`Who drinks of me will be a tiger! who drinks of me will be a tiger!'
So she cried out, `Oh! dear brother, pray don't drink, or you'll be turned into a wild beast
and tear me to pieces.'
Brother was dreadfully thirsty, but he did not drink.
`Very well,' said he, `I'll wait till we come to the next spring.'
When they came to the second brook, sister heard it repeating too:
`Who drinks of me will be a wolf I who drinks of me will be a wolf!'
And she cried, `Oh! brother, pray don't drink here either, or you'll be turned into a wolf
and eat me up.'
Again brother did not drink, but he said: