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The Wolf And The Seven Little Kids

The Wolf And The Seven Little Kids

There was once  upon a time  an old goat  who had seven  little kids,and loved them with all  the love of  a mother for her  children. Oneday  she wanted to go into the forest and fetch some food. So she calledall  seven to her and said: «Dear children, I have to go into theforest, be on  your guard against the wolf; if he comes in, he willdevour you all—skin, hair, and everything. The wretch often disguiseshimself, but you will know  him at once by  his rough  voice and  hisblack  feet.» The  kids said:  «Dear mother, we will take good care ofourselves; you may go away without  any anxiety.» Then the old onebleated, and went on her way with an easy mind.

It was not long before someone knocked at the house-door and called:«Open the door, dear children;  your mother is here,  and has broughtsomething back with her for each of you.» But  the little kids knew thatit was  the wolf, by the rough voice.  «We will not open  the door,’cried they,  «you are not our  mother. She has  a soft,  pleasant voice,but  your voice  is rough; you are  the wolf!» Then  the wolf  went awayto  a shopkeeper  and bought himself a great  lump of chalk,  ate thisand  made his voice  soft with it. Then he came back, knocked at thedoor of the house, and  called: «Open the  door,  dear children,  yourmother  is here  and  has  brought something back with her for each ofyou.» But the wolf had laid his  black paws against the window, and thechildren saw them and cried: «We will not open the door, our mother hasnot black feet like you: you are the  wolf!» Then the wolf  ran to abaker and said:  «I have hurt  my feet, rub  some dough over them forme.» And when  the baker had rubbed his feet over,  he ran to the millerand said: «Strew  some white meal over my feet for  me.» The millerthought to  himself: «The wolf wants  to deceive someone,»  and refused;but the wolf said:  «If you will not do  it, I will devour  you.» Thenthe miller was afraid, and made  his paws white for him. Truly,  this isthe way of mankind.

So now the wretch went for the third time to the house-door, knocked atit and said: «Open  the door for  me, children, your  dear little motherhas come home, and has brought every one of you something back from theforest with her.» The little  kids cried: «First  show us your  pawsthat we  may know if you are our dear little  mother.» Then he put hispaws in  through the window and when the kids saw that they were white,they believed  that all he said was true, and opened the door. But whoshould come in but  the wolf! They were terrified and wanted to hidethemselves. One sprang  under the table, the second into the bed,  thethird into the stove, the  fourth into the  kitchen,  the fifth  intothe  cupboard, the  sixth  under  the washing-bowl, and the seventh intothe clock-case. But the wolf found them all, and used  no greatceremony;  one after the  other he swallowed  them down his throat. Theyoungest, who was in the clock-case, was the only one he did not find.When the wolf had satisfied his appetite he took  himself off, laidhimself down under a tree in the green meadow outside, and began tosleep. Soon afterwards  the old goat came  home again from the  forest.Ah! what a sight she saw there! The house-door stood wide open. Thetable, chairs, and  benches were  thrown  down, the  washing-bowl laybroken  to pieces, and the quilts and pillows were pulled off the bed.She sought her children, but they  were nowhere to  be found. Shecalled them one  after another by  name, but  no one  answered. Atlast, when  she came  to  the youngest, a soft voice cried: «Dearmother, I am in the clock-case.»  She took the kid out, and it told herthat the wolf had come and had eaten all the others. Then you mayimagine how she wept over her poor children.

At length in her grief  she went out, and the  youngest kid ran withher. When they came to the meadow, there lay the wolf by the tree andsnored so loud that the branches shook. She looked at him on every sideand saw that something was moving and  struggling in his  gorged belly.«Ah,  heavens,» she said, «is it possible that my poor children whom hehas swallowed down for his supper,  can be still  alive?» Then the  kidhad to  run home  and fetch scissors,  and  a needle  and  thread, andthe  goat cut  open  the monster’s stomach, and hardly  had she made onecut, than one little  kid thrust its head out, and when she had cutfarther, all six sprang out  one after another,  and were  all  stillalive,  and  had suffered  no  injury whatever, for in his greedinessthe monster had swallowed them down whole. What rejoicing there was!They embraced their dear mother, and jumped like a tailor at hiswedding. The mother,  however, said: «Now go and look  for some bigstones,  and we will  fill the wicked  beast’s stomach with  them whilehe is still asleep.» Then the seven kids dragged the stones  thitherwith all speed, and put  as many of them into  this stomach as theycould get in; and the mother sewed him  up again in the greatest haste,so  that he was not aware of anything and never once stirred.

When the wolf at length had had his fill of sleep, he got on his legs,and as the stones in his stomach made him  very thirsty, he wanted to goto  a well to drink. But when he began to walk and to move about, thestones  in his stomach knocked against each other and rattled. Thencried he:

«What rumbles and tumbles    Against my poor bones?    I thought ’twas six kids,    But it feels like big stones.»

And when he got to the well and stooped over the water to drink, theheavy stones made him fall in, and he drowned miserably. When the sevenkids saw that, they came running to  the spot and cried  aloud: «Thewolf is  dead! The wolf is  dead!» and danced  for joy  round about thewell with  their mother.

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