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 maiden comes into the house by her own volition, and finds me in the cellar. She has been 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 bid 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.