The Old Witch – A Halloween story by The Brothers Grimm
There was once a little girl who was very wilful and who never obeyed when her elders spoke to her – so how could she be happy?
One day she said to her parents, ‘I have heard so much of the old witch that I will go and see her. People say she is a wonderful old woman, and has many marvellous things in her house, and I am very curious to see them.’
But her parents forbade her going, saying, ‘The witch is a wicked old woman, who performs many godless deeds – and if you go near her, you are no longer a child of ours.’
The girl, however, would not turn back at her parents’ command, but went to the witch’s house. When she arrived there the old woman asked her:
‘Why are you so pale?’
‘Ah,’ she replied, trembling all over, ‘I have frightened myself so with what I have just seen.’
‘And what did you see?’ inquired the old witch.
‘I saw a black man on your steps.’
‘That was a collier,’ replied she.
‘Then I saw a gray man.’
‘That was a sportsman,’ said the old woman.
‘After him I saw a blood-red man.’
‘That was a butcher,’ replied the old woman.
‘But, oh, I was most terrified,’ continued the girl, ‘when I peeped through your window, and saw not you, but a creature with a fiery head.’
‘Then you have seen the witch in her proper dress,’ said the old woman. ‘For you I have long waited, and now you shall give me light.’
So saying the witch changed the little girl into a block of wood, and then threw it on the fire. When it was fully alight, she sat down on the hearth and warmed herself, saying:
‘How good I feel! The fire has not burned like this for a long time!’