When I came to the hut in the woods, I was very upset because I had not found my father, and he would not have had anything to eat. The windows were lit up so I knocked on the door, and a rough voice cried, “Come in.” I stepped into the dark entrance, and knocked on the door of the room.

“Just come in,” cried the voice, and when I opened the door, I saw a grey-haired man sitting at the table. He had his chin in both his hands, and his white beard went almost to the ground. There were three animals lying by the stove: a hen, a cock, and a brindled cow.

I asked if I might be able to spend the night in the cottage, and the old man asked his animals for permission. They agreed to let me stay, and I went and stroked the smooth feathers of the birds and I caressed the brindled cow between her horns. I made something to eat for myself and the old man, but the animals had nothing, so I went outside for barley and hay.

If I have received any riches in my life, it is only because I thought of the animals before I thought of myself.

Maiden Who Loves Animals in The Hut in the Forest, Grimms. Illustration by John B. Gruelle.

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