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Clever Grethel - a fairy tale by Grimm Brothers

 Read "Clever Grethel" fairy tales for kids. Clever Gretel, is a short bedtime Story by the Grimm Brothers about a cook named Grethel who wore red rosettes shoes and looked in the mirror and said she looked very good. One day, her master told her to prepare two birds for the guests who would come that day. Clever Grethel prepares the birds but learns from her master that his guests are late. She thinks the guests might not come and thinks it would be a shame for the two birds to waste themselves. Grethel eats the first bird and looks to see if the guests are coming, but when she sees that they are not coming, she eats the second bird as well. Suddenly, she hears her master shouting at her and telling her to bring the birds because the guests have come.

"Clever Grethel"
or "Clever Gretel"
a fairy tale by Grimm Brothers

THERE was once a cook called Grethel, who wore shoes with red rosettes; and when she went out in them, she turned and twisted about gaily, and thought, ‘How fine I am!’

After her walk she would take a draught of wine, in her light-heartedness; and as wine gives an appetite, she would then taste some of the dishes that she was cooking, saying to herself, ‘The cook is bound to know how the food tastes.’

It so happened that one day her master said to her, ‘Grethel, I have a guest coming to-night; roast me two fowls in your best style.’

‘It shall be done, sir!’ answered Grethel. So she killed the chickens, scalded and plucked them, and then put them on the spit; towards evening she put them down to the fire to roast. They got brown and crisp, but still the guest did not come. Then Grethel called to her Master, ‘If the guest does not come I must take the fowls from the fire; but it will be a thousand pities if they are not eaten soon while they are juicy.’

Her Master said, ‘I will go and hasten the guest myself.’

Hardly had her Master turned his back before Grethel laid the spit with the fowls on it on one side, and said to herself, ‘It’s thirsty work standing over the fire so long. Who knows when he will come. I’ll go down into the cellar in the meantime and take a drop of wine.’

She ran down and held a jug to the tap, then said, ‘Here’s to your health, Grethel,’ and took a good pull. ‘Drinking leads to drinking,’ she said, ‘and it’s not easy to give it up,’ and again she took a good pull. Then she went upstairs and put the fowls to the fire again, poured some butter over them, and turned the spit round with a will. It smelt so good that she thought, ‘There may be something wanting, I must have a taste.’ And she passed her finger over the fowls and put it in her mouth. ‘Ah, how good they are; it’s a sin and a shame that there’s nobody to eat them.’ She ran to the window to see if her Master was coming with the guest, but she saw nobody. Then she went back to the fowls again, and thought, ‘One wing is catching a little, better to eat it—and eat it I will.’ So she cut it off and ate it with much enjoyment. When it was finished, she thought, ‘The other must follow, or the Master will notice that something is wanting.’ When the wings were consumed she went back to the window again to look for her Master, but no one was in sight.

‘Who knows,’ she thought. ‘I dare say they won’t come at all; they must have dropped in somewhere else.’ Then she said to herself, ‘Now, Grethel, don’t be afraid, eat it all up: why should the good food be wasted? When it’s all gone you can rest; run and have another drink and then finish it up.’ So she went down to the cellar, took a good drink, and contentedly ate up the rest of the fowl. When it had all disappeared and still no Master came, Grethel looked at the other fowl and said, ‘Where one is gone the other must follow. What is good for one is right for the other. If I have a drink first I shall be none the worse.’ So she took another hearty pull at the jug, and then she sent the other fowl after the first one.

In the height of her enjoyment, her Master came back, and cried, ‘Hurry, Grethel, the guest is just coming.’

‘Very well, sir, I’ll soon have it ready,’ answered Grethel.

Her Master went to see if the table was properly laid, and took the big carving-knife with which he meant to cut up the fowls, to sharpen it. In the meantime the guest came and knocked politely at the door. Grethel ran to see who was there, and, seeing the guest, she put her finger to her lips and said, ‘Be quiet, and get away quickly; if my Master catches you it will be the worse for you. He certainly invited you to supper, but only with the intention of cutting off both your ears. You can hear him sharpening his knife now.’

The guest heard the knife being sharpened, and hurried off down the steps as fast as he could.

Grethel ran with great agility to her Master, shrieking, ‘A fine guest you have invited, indeed!’

‘Why, what’s the matter, Grethel? What do you mean?’

‘Well,’ she said, ‘he has taken the two fowls that I had just put upon the dish, and run off with them.’

‘That’s a clever trick!’ said her Master, regretting his fine fowls. ‘If he had only left me one so that I had something to eat.’

He called out to him to stop, but the guest pretended not to hear. Then he ran after him, still holding the carving-knife, and cried, ‘Only one, only one!’—meaning that the guest should leave him one fowl; but the guest only thought that he meant he was to give him one ear, and he ran as if he was pursued by fire, and so took both his ears safely home.

The End

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