The Little Robber Maiden

Theydrovethroughthedarkwood;butthecarriageshonelikeatorch,anditdazzledtheeyesoftherobbers,sothattheycouldnotbeartolookatit.

"’Tisgold!’Tisgold!"theycried;andtheyrushedforward,seizedthehorses,knockeddownthelittlepostilion,thecoachman,andtheservants,andpulledlittleGerdaoutofthecarriage.

"Howplump,howbeautifulsheis!Shemusthavebeenfedonnut-kernels,"saidtheoldfemalerobber,whohadalong,scrubbybeard,andbushyeyebrowsthathungdownoverhereyes."Sheisasgoodasafattedlamb!Howniceshewillbe!"Andthenshedrewoutaknife,thebladeofwhichshonesothatitwasquitedreadfultobehold.

"Oh!"criedthewomanatthesamemoment.Shehadbeenbittenintheearbyherownlittledaughter,whohungatherback;andwhowassowildandunmanageable,thatitwasquiteamusingtoseeher."Younaughtychild!"saidthemother:andnowshehadnottimetokillGerda.

"Sheshallplaywithme,"saidthelittlerobberchild."Sheshallgivemehermuff,andherprettyfrock;sheshallsleepinmybed!"Andthenshegavehermotheranotherbite,sothatshejumped,andranroundwiththepain;andtheRobberslaughed,andsaid,"Look,howsheisdancingwiththelittleone!"

"Iwillgointothecarriage,"saidthelittlerobbermaiden;andshewouldhaveherwill,forshewasveryspoiledandveryheadstrong.SheandGerdagotin;andthenawaytheydroveoverthestumpsoffelledtrees,deeperanddeeperintothewoods.

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