The parents led the children far into the wood where they had never been before in all their lives. The father told the children to collect wood to make a fire to keep them warm; and Hänsel and Gretel gathered brushwood enough for a little mountain; and it was set on fire, and when the flame was burning quite high the wife said, »Now lie down by the fire and rest yourselves, you children, and we will go and cut wood; and when we are ready we will come and fetch you.«
So when noon came Gretel shared her bread with Hänsel, who had strewn his along the road. They thought their father was in the wood all the time as they seemed to hear the strokes of the axe, but really it was only a dry branch hanging on a withered tree that the wind moved to and fro. So when they had stayed there a long time their eyelids closed with weariness and they fell fast asleep. When at last they woke it was night and Hänsel comforted his little sister, and said, »Wait a little, Gretel, until the moon gets up, then we shall be able to see the way home by the crumbs of bread that I have scattered along it.«
So when the moon rose they got up, but they could find no crumbs of bread, for the birds of the woods and of the fields had come and picked them up. Hänsel thought they might find the way all the same, but they could not.