Enter the forest.
Setting of so many folk tales and legends. Of Hansels, Gretels, witches, wolves, woodcutters, enchantresses, and sleeping beauties.
Woven through these tales, the forest has its own persona. One veiled in mystery - the forest hides its secrets well, revealing them only onto the select few: a small cottage among the trees, a commune of dwarves, or a riverbank of red berries ripe for the taking. But then the trees grow close again.
The forest speaks in whispers, in the tongues of leaves and creeks.
In the evening they came to a large forest, and they were so weary with sorrow and hunger and the long walk, that they lay down in a hollow tree and fell asleep.
The next day when they awoke, the sun was already high in the sky, and shone down hot into the tree. Then the brother said, "Sister, I am thirsty; if I knew of a little brook I would go and take a drink; I think I hear one running." The brother got up and took the little sister by the hand, and they set off to find the brook.
But their wicked stepmother was a witch, and had seen how the two children had run away, and had crept after them stealthily. as witches do creep, and had bewitched all the brooks in the forest.
Now they found a little brook leaping brightly over the stones, the brother was going to drink out of it, but the sister heard how it sang as it ran. "Whoever drinks of me will become a tiger." Then the sister cried, "Pray, dear brother, do not drink, or you will become a wild beast, and tear me to pieces."
The brother did not drink. although he was so thirsty, but said, "I will wait for the next spring."
When they came to the next brook the sister heard this also say, "Whoever drinks of me will become a wolf." Then the sister cried out, "Pray, dear brother, do not drink, or you will become a wolf, and devour me."
The brother did not drink, and said, "I will wait until we come to the next spring, but then I must drink, say what you like; for my thirst is too great."
And when they came to the third brook the sister heard how it said as it ran, "Whoever drinks of me will become a deer." The sister said, "Oh, I pray you, dear brother, do not drink, or you will become a deer, and run away from me." But the brother had knelt down at once by the brook, and had bent down and drunk some of the water, and as soon as the first drops touched his lips he lay there a young deer.
And now the sister wept over the poor bewitched brother, and the little deer wept also. But at last the girl said, "Be quiet, dear little fawn, I will never leave you." She plucked reeds and wove them into a soft cord. With this she tied the little beast and led it on, and walked deeper and deeper into the forest.
And when they had gone a very long way they came at last to a little house, and the girl looked in; and as it was empty, she thought, "We can stay here and live." Then she sought for leaves and moss to make a soft bed for the fawn; and every morning she went out and gathered roots and berries and nuts for herself, and brought tender grass for the fawn. In the evening, when the sister was tired, and had said her prayer, she laid her head upon the fawn's back: that was her pillow, and she slept softly on it.
For some time they were alone like this in the wilderness. But it happened that the King of the country held a great hunt in the forest...
an extract from:
THE BROTHERS GRIMM - LITTLE BROTHER & LITTLE SISTER