Before the robbers come home, I go down into the cellar. I stay there, quiet as a mouse. I have learned not to make a sound, or move, lest they think I am listening.
I cannot begin to tell you what I have heard. Suffice it to say that the robbers like the taste of a maiden’s flesh better than any other.
This evening, a young woman came into the house by her own volition, and found me in the cellar. She is betrothed to one of the robbers and does not know that she will soon be hewed into pieces and put into the kettle. I can hear the robbers coming, and it is too late to get her out of the house so I tell her to hide behind the hogshead, and to stay absolutely still.
When the robbers are sleeping, we will both escape.
The Very, Very Old Woman among Robbers in The Robber Bridegroom, Grimms. Illustration by John B. Gruelle.