By Robert Coover

                   Two children  followed an old man in a pine forest in the mid afternoon. The boy was dropping breadcrumbs and the girl was singing nursery tunes and carrying a baskets to collect flower. The old man was very poor and wearing torn clothes. He was very thin and weak. He was worried because of poverty and resignation. He felt hopeless and guilty. The children were wearing torn clothes and their feet were bare. They sang song to lighten their hearts or to hide thoughts. The boy was dropping breadcrumbs. He old man eyes were blues and his face was wrinkled. He was looking straight ahead at some unknown destination. His eyes showed that they didn't want to see any one.

             The witch was covered with black clothes. Her face was very pale and her eyes glowed like burning coals. She was very thin and her body was twisted. She moved her hand in the empty place. She cried sharply and caught a parsing clove and tore its heart out.

         The girl was walking happily in the forest. She looked very fresh and happy. Her basket was overfilled. There was a sunny place in the dark forest. There the air was fresh and rivers of honey flowed and lollipops grew like daises. This place was called gingerbread house and children didn’t leave it.

             The witched looked like a head of black rags on a post. Her long-nailed hands were curled towards her breast. Her hand was lowered and her nose pushed her fingers. She cackled and looked to both sides. Then she lifted the 'dove's wings were fluttering. It was forced down against the earth. The boy fell on it and its claws and beak made his hands bloody. The gingerbread house could be reached walking on the biscuits through a garden of sugared fruits.

              The girl was not shining. She fought with the boy for the bird. She kicked him and he elbowed her. There were weeping. The boy was angry and hopeless and the girl was sad. They were still fighting. The old man looked clearly. He felt sorry. He signed. The girl captured the bird and pushed it in between her things. It was dead.

          It was dusk. But the body of the dove shone because of its whiteness. It was scattered with fading flowers. The old man, the boys and girl had gone. The gingerbread house was made of sweet. And the best of all was the door. Brown animals were moving quickly in the dense forest. The boy and the girl were walking ahead into the forest. The old man was walking slowly. His eyes were shining in the late evening. His teeth were tightly shut but his mouth was open. The witch twisted and quivered. From her learn breast, she pulled back the pulsing red heart of the dove. The old man frightened all the animals in the jungle. The old man stopped suddenly to boy was pale with fear, But he was bold. The girl cried.

           The sun was setting and the children went into the room where the old man himself made the beds. He told them a story about a good fairy who granted a poor man three wishes. The wishes were wasted, but he let them complete the story with their own wishes. He had to accept a cruel demand unwillingly. The goodness of all wishes had to be useless. 

The flower basket was overturned on the forest path and the flowers were faded. The night was falling. The children helped the old man to be free from the brambles. He looked at their

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