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.