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. One day she

wanted to go into the forest and fetch some food. So she called all

seven to her and said: 'Dear children, I have to go into the forest,

be on your guard against the wolf; if he comes in, he will devour you

all--skin, hair, and everything. The wretch often disguises himself, but

you will know him at once by his rough voice and his black feet.' The

kids said: 'Dear mother, we will take good care of ourselves; you may go

away without any anxiety.' Then the old one bleated, 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 brought

something back with her for each of you.' But the little kids knew that

it 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 away to a

shopkeeper and bought himself a great lump of chalk, ate this and made

his voice soft with it. Then he came back, knocked at the door of the

house, and called: 'Open the door, dear children, your mother is here

and has brought something back with her for each of you.' But the wolf

had laid his black paws against the window, and the children saw them

and cried: 'We will not open the door, our mother has not black feet

like you: you are the wolf!' Then the wolf ran to a baker and said: 'I

have hurt my feet, rub some dough over them for me.' And when the baker

had rubbed his feet over, he ran to the miller and said: 'Strew some

white meal over my feet for me.' The miller thought to himself: 'The

wolf wants to deceive someone,' and refused; but the wolf said: 'If you

will not do it, I will devour you.' Then the miller was afraid, and made

his paws white for him. Truly, this is the way of mankind.



So now the wretch went for the third time to the house-door, knocked at

it and said: 'Open the door for me, children, your dear little mother

has come home, and has brought every one of you something back from the

forest with her.' The little kids cried: 'First show us your paws that

we may know if you are our dear little mother.' Then he put his paws

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 who should

come in but the wolf! They were terrified and wanted to hide themselves.

One sprang under the table, the second into the bed, the third into the

stove, the fourth into the kitchen, the fifth into the cupboard, the

sixth under the washing-bowl, and the seventh into the clock-case. But

the wolf found them all, and used no great ceremony; one after the

other he swallowed them down his throat. The youngest, 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, laid himself down under a

tree in the green meadow outside, and began to sleep. Soon afterwards

the old goat came home again from the forest. Ah! what a sight she saw

there! The house-door stood wide open. The table, chairs, and benches

were thrown down, the washing-bowl lay broken to pieces, and the quilts

and pillows were pulled off the bed. She sought her children, but they

were nowhere to be found. She called them one after another by name, but

no one answered. At last, when she came to the youngest, a soft voice

cried: 'Dear mother, I am in the clock-case.' She took the kid out, and

it told her that the wolf had come and had eaten all the others. Then

you may imagine how she wept over her poor children.



At length in her grief she went out, and the youngest kid ran with her.

When they came to the meadow, there lay the wolf by the tree and snored

so loud that the branches shook. She looked at him on every side and

saw that something was moving and struggling in his gorged belly. 'Ah,

heavens,' she said, 'is it possible that my poor children whom he has

swallowed down for his supper, can be still alive?' Then the kid had to

run home and fetch scissors, and a needle and thread, and the goat cut

open the monster's stomach, and hardly had she made one cut, than one

little kid thrust its head out, and when she had cut farther, all six

sprang out one after another, and were all still alive, and had suffered

no injury whatever, for in his greediness the monster had swallowed them

down whole. What rejoicing there was! They embraced their dear mother,

and jumped like a tailor at his wedding. The mother, however, said: 'Now

go and look for some big stones, and we will fill the wicked beast's

stomach with them while he is still asleep.' Then the seven kids dragged

the stones thither with all speed, and put as many of them into this

stomach as they could 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

go to a well to drink. But when he began to walk and to move about, the

stones in his stomach knocked against each other and rattled. Then cried

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, the

heavy stones made him fall in, and he drowned miserably. When the seven

kids saw that, they came running to the spot and cried aloud: 'The wolf

is dead! The wolf is dead!' and danced for joy round about the well with

their mother.





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