The Long Rifle

The Long Rifle.

Every evening before he began to tell stories, Pa made the bullets for his next day’s hunting. Laura and Mary helped him. They brought the big, long-handled spoon, and the box full of bits of lead, and the bullet-mold. Then while he squatted on the hearth and made the bullets, they sat one on each side of him, and watched.



Little House in the Big Woods: Chapter 2


Winter Days and Winter Nights

What a find!

The first snow came, and the bitter cold. Every morning Pa took his gun and his traps and was gone all day in the Big Woods, setting the small traps for muskrats and mink along the creeks, the middle-sized traps for foxes and wolves in the woods. He set out the big bear traps hoping to get a fat bear before they all went into their dens for the winter.


Season 3


Thank you for joining us for this season!

This season Mrs. Trimble will be reading Little House in the Big Woods.  An all time favorite!


From the Back Cover

About the Author

Season 2 of Mrs. Trimble Bedtime Stories

This season on Mrs. Trimble’s Tuck in:

  • Episode 1: How the Rabbit Lost his Tail by Elsie Eells and The Glass Dog by Frank Baum
  • Episode 2: The Little Red Hen by Margot Zemach and The Wind in the Willows Part 1 by Kenneth Grahame
  • Episode 3:  How They Ran Away by Louisa May Alcott.
  • Episode 4: A Little Tiny Thing by Anonymous and An Angel in Disguise by T.S. Arthur
  • Episode 5: The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin and Poor Dear Margaret Kirby by Kathleen Norris.

Season 2

This season on Mrs. Trimble’s Tuck in:

  • Episode 1: How the Rabbit Lost his Tail by Elsie Eells and The Glass Dog by Frank Baum

  • Episode 2: The Little Red Hen by Margot Zemach and The Wind in the Willows Part 1 by Kenneth Grahame

  • Episode 3:  How They Ran Away by Louisa May Alcott.

  • Episode 4: A Little Tiny Thing by Anonymous and An Angel in Disguise by T.S. Arthur

  • Episode 5: The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin and Poor Dear Margaret Kirby by Kathleen Norris.

Brothers Grimm Biography

This season Mrs. Trimble will be reading her very favorite Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  Here is a short bio of the brothers:

Brothers Grimm Biography

Jakob Grimm

Born: January 4, 1785
Hanau, Germany
Died: September 20, 1863
Berlin, Germany

German scholar and author

Wilhelm Grimm

Born: February 24, 1786
Hanau, Germany
Died: December 16, 1859
Berlin, Germany

German scholar and author


The brothers Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm were German scholars known for their fairy tales and for their work in the study of different languages, which included the creation of “Grimm’s law.”

Together from the beginning

Jakob Karl Grimm was born on January 4, 1785, in Hanau, Germany. His brother, Wilhelm Karl Grimm, was born on February 24 of the following year. They were the oldest surviving sons of Philipp Grimm, a lawyer who served as Hanau’s town clerk. As small children they spent most of their time together; aside from a brief period of living apart, they were to remain together for the rest of their lives. Their even-tempered personalities made it easy for them to work together on projects. The main difference in their personalities seems to have been that Jakob, the healthier of the two, had more taste for research work, and it was he who worked out most of their theories of language and grammar. Wilhelm was physically weaker but was a somewhat warmer person and more interested in music and literature. He was responsible for the pleasant style of their collection of fairy tales.

The brothers first attended school in Kassel, Germany, and then they began legal studies at the University of Marburg. While there, however, the inspiration of a professor named Friedrich von Savigny awakened in them an interest in past cultures. In 1808 Jakob was named court librarian to the King of Westphalia in Wilhelmshöhe, Germany. In 1816 he became librarian in Kassel, where Wilhelm had been employed since 1814. They were to remain there until 1830, when they obtained positions at the University of Göttingen.

“Grimm’s Fairy Tales”

The romantic movement in Germany (a movement in the arts that favored a return to nature and a greater focus on national culture, especially folk tales) awakened the Germans’ interest in the past of their own country. Although some work in the rediscovery and editing of medieval (from the Middle Ages, 500–1500) German literature had already been started in the eighteenth century, it was the poets and theorists of the next century who first focused national attention on the origins of German culture and literature. While most of the poets viewed medieval literature mainly as an inspiration for new writing, others turned their attention to the investigation of the past. The Grimm brothers were the most important of these early language and folklore romantic historians.

For some years the brothers had been in contact with the romantic poets Clemens Brentano (1778–1842) and Achim von Arnim (1781–1831), who were preparing a

The Brothers Grimm.
Courtesy of the

Library of Congress


collection of German folk songs. Following their own interests in folklore and legends, the brothers brought out their first collection of tales, Kinder-und Hausmärchen (Tales of Children and the Home), in 1812. These tales were collected by recording stories told by peasants and villagers. Wilhelm put them into written form and gave them a pleasant, childlike style. The brothers added many scholarly footnotes on the tales’ sources and different versions.In addition, the Grimms worked on editing existing pieces of other folklore and early literature. Between 1816 and 1818 they published two volumes of Deutsche Sagen (German Legends). At about the same time they published a volume of studies in the history of early literature, Altdeutsche Wälder (Old German Forests).

Language research

In later years their interest in older literature led the Grimm brothers to a study of older languages and their relationship to modern German. Jakob especially began to specialize in the history and structure of the German language. The first edition of his Deutsche Grammatik (German Grammar) was published in 1819.

The brothers, especially Jakob, were also working to document the relationship between similar words of related languages, such as the English apple and the German Apfel. Their creation of the rules for such relationships became known as “Grimm’s law.” It was later expanded to account for all word relationships in the Indo-European group of languages. The Grimm brothers were not the first to take note of such similarities, but they can be credited with gathering the bulk of linguistic (related to language) data and working out the details of the rules.

Later years

In 1830 the brothers moved to the University of Göttingen, where Jakob was named professor and head librarian and Wilhelm was appointed assistant librarian. As professor, Jakob held lectures on linguistics and cultural history. Wilhelm also attained the rank of professor in 1835. Both were dismissed in 1835 for political reasons. (They had joined in signing a protest against the King’s decision to abolish the Hanover constitution.) They first moved back to Kassel but later obtained professorships at Berlin, Germany, where they were to remain until their deaths.

The Grimm brothers’ last years were spent in preparing a complete dictionary of the German language, tracing the origin of every word. The first volume, published in 1854, has 1,824 pages but gets only as far as the word Biermolke. Four pages are devoted to the letter A alone, which is termed “the most noble and primeval [ancient] of all sounds.” The Grimms’ dictionary was carried on by generations of scholars after the brothers’ deaths, and it was finally finished in 1960. Its completed form consists of sixteen large volumes.

Wilhelm died in Berlin on December 16, 1859. Jakob continued to work on the dictionary and related projects until his death in Berlin on September 20, 1863.

For More Information

Peppard, Murray B. Paths through the Forest: A Biography of the Brothers Grimm. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1971.

Zipes, Jack David. The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World. New York: Routledge, 1988.

Zipes, Jack. The Great Fairy Tale Tradition. New York: W. W. Norton, 2001.

Read more:

The Skillful Huntsman

The Skillful Huntsman

Once upon a time there was a young man who had learned to be a locksmith. He told his father he was going to go out into the world and make his fortune. After a while, he decided he didn’t want to be a locksmith anymore. He wanted to be a huntsman. He encountered a huntsman dressed entirely in green. He convinced this huntsman to teach him the trade. The young man was with the huntsman for some time, before finally becoming a huntsman in his own right. The teaching huntsman did not pay the young man for this years of service, but did give him a parting gift. It was an air gun that never missed its target(the air gun they’re talking about must not be the same kind of air gun I’m thinking of).

The young man went on his way and climbed in a tree. While he was up in the tree, he saw a light in the distance. He decided to investigate. He threw his hat down on the ground pointing in the direction of the light. He gets down from the tree and follows the light. He gets closer and closer. When he gets near, he can see that there is a fire and three giants are sitting around it cooking some food.

One giant is just about to taste a bit of the food, when the huntsman shoots it out of his hand with his airgun. The giant accuses the other giants of taking the food out of his hand, but they denied it. The huntsman, in turn, shot food out of all their hands and mouths, until all three giants were ready to come to blows with one another. They finally united their forces and figured out that it was someone else who was shooting at them. They called out into the darkness that any sharpshooter must come forth and they would not hurt him, if they had to go in after him, he would not far nearly so well.

The huntsman came out from his hiding place and was even offered food by the giants. They soon got down to business. They had a proposition. There was a tower not too far away, asleep in that tower was a princess. The giants wanted her, the problem was, that as soon as they got near the tower, a little dog would bark and wake everyone up. They were not able to get near the princess at all. They asked the man if he could shoot the little dog dead. The huntsman did not hesitate in saying, “Yes.”

The strange quartet soon carried out their plan. The huntsman shot the little dog quickly and it barked no more. Poor fluffy. Before he called the giants to the castle, he decided to take a look around. He told them to wait. He went into one room and found a sword. It was engraved with the name of the king. It even had instructions. Whosoever wielded the sword would kill any enemy. The huntsman wandered up to the tower, where he found the princess sleeping. She had two slippers. The right one was embroidered with her name and the left one was embroidered with the king’s name. The huntsman took the right slipper. She was wearing a shawl. On the right was embroidered her name, while on the left was embroidered the king’s name. The huntsman cut off the right corner. The princess was also wearing a nightdress, not embroidered with her name, but the huntsman cut off part of it anyway.

He soon called to the giants telling them the coast was clear, but they must only come in through one specific avenue and they practically had to crawl to get inside. When the first giant was through, the huntsman cut off his head with the sword and pulled the boy on through. When the second giant was through, the huntsman cut off his head and pulled the boy on through. When the third giant was through, the huntsman cut off his head and pulled the body on through. He then proceeded to cut out the tongues of each of the giants and stuck them in his bag.

The huntsman thought he was quite accomplished and decided that he should go home and show everything to his father.

Meanwhile, the king woke up from his sleep and saw the pile of dead giants. He asked the princess who had done this thing, but she didn’t know because she had been asleep the entire time, but all could see part of her night-gown was missing, part of her shawl was missing and one of her slippers was missing. The captain of the king, who only had one eye, decided to claim the victory for himself. He told the king that he killed the giants. The king told the captain that he could marry his daughter for his heroics. The princess did not want to marry this man. She asked her father to send her away into the world rather than marry the captain.

The princess was sent to sell pottery in the market. She borrowed pottery from a potter to sell and promised to pay it back at the end of the day. Well, a horse came and trod on her pottery and she was not able to pay the potter. She asked for another day’s loan on the pottery, but he would not agree. The princess, dejectedly, had to ask her father, the king, for help. He told her marry the captain, but if she would not do that, he would make her a little hut where she must make food for everyone and not charge anything.

The princess stayed in her hut making food for everyone for several years. Soon word got around that there was a woman who made food for free. The huntsman thought he should check this out and went to see the princess in her hut. The huntsman went into the shack and commanded something to eat. He put his sword down while waiting for the food. The princess asked him where he got the sword. He told her that he had slain three giants with the sword. He then showed the princess the giant tongues, the slipper, the shawl piece, and the night-gown piece. He asked her if she was the princess and she said that she was.

The princess was very happy. She told the huntsman that they must show these things to her father. They took the items to the king and he could not deny that this was the man who had rescued his daughter. He promised the huntsman his daughter as a wife. They dressed the huntsman up as if he were a foreign lord and had dinner. The captain was there sitting with the king as well.

The king asked the captain a question.

“Supposing someone said that he had killed the three giants and he were asked where the giants’ tongues were, and he were forced to go and look, and there were none in their heads. How could that have happened?”

“Then they cannot have had any.”

“Not so. Every animal has a tongue.”

The king then asked what punishment must befall such a terrible liar. The captain responded.

“He ought to be torn to pieces.”

And so he was. The king had the captain torn into four pieces. The princess married the huntsman and he became king when the king died.

The End

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm



Next to a great forest there lived a poor woodcutter with his wife and his two children. The boy’s name was Hansel and the girl’s name was Gretel. He had but little to eat, and once, when a great famine came to the land, he could no longer provide even their daily bread.

One evening as he was lying in bed worrying about his problems, he sighed and said to his wife, “What is to become of us? How can we feed our children when we have nothing for ourselves?”

“Man, do you know what?” answered the woman. “Early tomorrow morning we will take the two children out into the thickest part of the woods, make a fire for them, and give each of them a little piece of bread, then leave them by themselves and go off to our work. They will not find their way back home, and we will be rid of them.”

“No, woman,” said the man. “I will not do that. How could I bring myself to abandon my own children alone in the woods? Wild animals would soon come and tear them to pieces.”

“Oh, you fool,” she said, “then all four of us will starve. All you can do is to plane the boards for our coffins.” And she gave him no peace until he agreed.

“But I do feel sorry for the poor children,” said the man.

The two children had not been able to fall asleep because of their hunger, and they heard what the stepmother had said to the father.

Gretel cried bitter tears and said to Hansel, “It is over with us!”

“Be quiet, Gretel,” said Hansel, “and don’t worry. I know what to do.”
And as soon as the adults had fallen asleep, he got up, pulled on his jacket, opened the lower door, and crept outside. The moon was shining brightly, and the white pebbles in front of the house were glistening like silver coins. Hansel bent over and filled his jacket pockets with them, as many as would fit.

Then he went back into the house and said, “Don’t worry, Gretel. Sleep well. God will not forsake us.” Then he went back to bed.

At daybreak, even before sunrise, the woman came and woke the two children. “Get up, you lazybones. We are going into the woods to fetch wood.” Then she gave each one a little piece of bread, saying, “Here is something for midday. Don’t eat it any sooner, for you’ll not get any more.”

Gretel put the bread under her apron, because Hansel’s pockets were full of stones. Then all together they set forth into the woods. After they had walked a little way, Hansel began stopping again and again and looking back toward the house.

The father said, “Hansel, why are you stopping and looking back? Pay attention now, and don’t forget your legs.”

“Oh, father,” said Hansel, “I am looking at my white cat that is sitting on the roof and wants to say good-bye to me.”

The woman said, “You fool, that isn’t your cat. That’s the morning sun shining on the chimney.”

However, Hansel had not been looking at his cat but instead had been dropping the shiny pebbles from his pocket onto the path.

When they arrived in the middle of the woods, the father said, “You children gather some wood, and I will make a fire so you won’t freeze.”

Hansel and Gretel gathered together some twigs, a pile as high as a small mountain

The twigs were set afire, and when the flames were burning well, the woman said, “Lie down by the fire and rest. We will go into the woods to cut wood. When we are finished, we will come back and get you.”

Hansel and Gretel sat by the fire. When midday came each one ate his little piece of bread. Because they could hear the blows of an ax, they thought that the father was nearby. However, it was not an ax. It was a branch that he had tied to a dead tree and that the wind was beating back and forth. After they had sat there a long time, their eyes grew weary and closed, and they fell sound sleep.

When they finally awoke, it was dark at night. Gretel began to cry and said, “How will we get out of woods?”

Hansel comforted her, “Wait a little until the moon comes up, and then we’ll find the way.”

After the full moon had come up, Hansel took his little sister by the hand. They followed the pebbles that glistened there like newly minted coins, showing them the way. They walked throughout the entire night, and as morning was breaking, they arrived at the father’s house.

They knocked on the door, and when the woman opened it and saw that it was Hansel and Gretel, she said, “You wicked children, why did you sleep so long in the woods? We thought that you did not want to come back.”

But the father was overjoyed when he saw his children once more, for he had not wanted to leave them alone.

Not long afterward there was once again great need everywhere, and one evening the children heard the mother say to the father, “We have again eaten up everything. We have only a half loaf of bread, and then the song will be over. We must get rid of the children. We will take them deeper into the woods, so they will not find their way out. Otherwise there will be no help for us.”

The man was very disheartened, and he thought, “It would be better to share the last bit with the children.”

But the woman would not listen to him, scolded him, and criticized him. He who says A must also say B, and because he had given in the first time, he had to do so the second time as well.

The children were still awake and had overheard the conversation. When the adults were asleep, Hansel got up again and wanted to gather pebbles as he had done before, but the woman had locked the door, and Hansel could not get out. But he comforted his little sister and said, “Don’t cry, Gretel. Sleep well. God will help us.”

Early the next morning the woman came and got the children from their beds. They received their little pieces of bread, even less than the last time. On the way to the woods, Hansel crumbled his piece in his pocket, then often stood still, and threw crumbs onto the ground.

“Hansel, why are you always stopping and looking around?” said his father. “Keep walking straight ahead.”

“I can see my pigeon sitting on the roof. It wants to say good-bye to me.”

“Fool,” said the woman, “that isn’t your pigeon. That’s the morning sun shining on the chimney.”

But little by little Hansel dropped all the crumbs onto the path. The woman took them deeper into the woods than they had ever been in their whole lifetime.

Once again a large fire was made, and the mother said, “Sit here, children. If you get tired you can sleep a little. We are going into the woods to cut wood. We will come and get you in the evening when we are finished.”

When it was midday Gretel shared her bread with Hansel, who had scattered his piece along the path. Then they fell asleep, and evening passed, but no one came to get the poor children.

It was dark at night when they awoke, and Hansel comforted Gretel and said, “Wait, when the moon comes up I will be able to see the crumbs of bread that I scattered, and they will show us the way back home.”

When the moon appeared they got up, but they could not find any crumbs, for the many thousands of birds that fly about in the woods and in the fields had pecked them up.

Hansel said to Gretel, “We will find our way,” but they did not find it.

They walked through the entire night and the next day from morning until evening, but they did not find their way out of the woods. They were terribly hungry, for they had eaten only a few small berries that were growing on the ground. And because they were so tired that their legs would no longer carry them, they lay down under a tree and fell asleep. It was already the third morning since they had left the father’s house. They started walking again, but managed only to go deeper and deeper into the woods. If help did not come soon, they would perish. At midday they saw a little snow-white bird sitting on a branch. It sang so beautifully that they stopped to listen. When it was finished it stretched its wings and flew in front of them. They followed it until they came to a little house. The bird sat on the roof, and when they came closer, they saw that the little house was built entirely from bread with a roof made of cake, and the windows were made of clear sugar.

“Let’s help ourselves to a good meal,” said Hansel. “I’ll eat a piece of the roof, and Gretel, you eat from the window. That will be sweet.”

Hansel reached up and broke off a little of the roof to see how it tasted, while Gretel stood next to the windowpanes and was nibbling at them. Then a gentle voice called out from inside:

Nibble, nibble, little mouse,
Who is nibbling at my house?

The children answered:

The wind, the wind,
The heavenly child.

They continued to eat, without being distracted. Hansel, who very much like the taste of the roof, tore down another large piece, and Gretel poked out an entire round windowpane. Suddenly the door opened, and a woman, as old as the hills and leaning on a crutch, came creeping out. Hansel and Gretel were so frightened that they dropped what they were holding in their hands.

But the old woman shook her head and said, “Oh, you dear children, who brought you here? Just come in and stay with me. No harm will come to you.”

She took them by the hand and led them into her house. Then she served them a good meal: milk and pancakes with sugar, apples, and nuts. Afterward she made two nice beds for them, decked in white. Hansel and Gretel went to bed, thinking they were in heaven. But the old woman had only pretended to be friendly. She was a wicked witch who was lying in wait there for children. She had built her house of bread only in order to lure them to her, and if she captured one, she would kill him, cook him, and eat him; and for her that was a day to celebrate.

Witches have red eyes and cannot see very far, but they have a sense of smell like animals, and know when humans are approaching.

When Hansel and Gretel came near to her, she laughed wickedly and spoke scornfully, “Now I have them. They will not get away from me again.”

Early the next morning, before they awoke, she got up, went to their beds, and looked at the two of them lying there so peacefully, with their full red cheeks. “They will be a good mouthful,” she mumbled to herself. Then she grabbed Hansel with her withered hand and carried him to a little stall, where she locked him behind a cage door. Cry as he might, there was no help for him.

Then she shook Gretel and cried, “Get up, lazybones! Fetch water and cook something good for your brother. He is locked outside in the stall and is to be fattened up. When he is fat I am going to eat him.”

Gretel began to cry, but it was all for nothing. She had to do what the witch demanded. Now Hansel was given the best things to eat every day, but Gretel received nothing but crayfish shells.

Every morning the old woman crept out to the stall and shouted, “Hansel, stick out your finger, so I can feel if you are fat yet.”

But Hansel stuck out a little bone, and the old woman, who had bad eyes and could not see the bone, thought it was Hansel’s finger, and she wondered why he didn’t get fat.

When four weeks had passed and Hansel was still thin, impatience overcame her, and she would wait no longer. “Hey, Gretel!” she shouted to the girl, “Hurry up and fetch some water. Whether Hansel is fat or thin, tomorrow I am going to slaughter him and boil him.”

Oh, how the poor little sister sobbed as she was forced to carry the water, and how the tears streamed down her cheeks! “Dear God, please help us,” she cried. “If only the wild animals had devoured us in the woods, then we would have died together.”

“Save your slobbering,” said the old woman. “It doesn’t help you at all.”

The next morning Gretel had to get up early, hang up the kettle with water, and make a fire.

“First we are going to bake,” said the old woman. “I have already made a fire in the oven and kneaded the dough.”

She pushed poor Gretel outside to the oven, from which fiery flames were leaping. “Climb in,” said the witch, “and see if it is hot enough to put the bread in yet.” And when Gretel was inside, she intended to close the oven, and bake her, and eat her as well.

But Gretel saw what she had in mind, so she said, “I don’t know how to do that. How can I get inside?”

“Stupid goose,” said the old woman. The opening is big enough. See, I myself could get in.” And she crawled up stuck her head into the oven.

Then Gretel gave her a shove, causing her to fall in. Then she closed the iron door and secured it with a bar. The old woman began to howl frightfully. But Gretel ran away, and the godless witch burned up miserably. Gretel ran straight to Hansel, unlocked his stall, and cried, “Hansel, we are saved. The old witch is dead.”

Then Hansel jumped out, like a bird from its cage when someone opens its door. How happy they were! They threw their arms around each other’s necks, jumped with joy, and kissed one another. Because they now had nothing to fear, they went into the witch’s house. In every corner were chests of pearls and precious stones.

“These are better than pebbles,” said Hansel, filling his pockets.

Gretel said, “I will take some home with me as well,” and she filled her apron full.

“But now we must leave,” said Hansel, “and get out of these witch-woods.”

After walking a few hours they arrived at a large body of water. “We cannot get across,” said Hansel. “I cannot see a walkway or a bridge.”

“There are no boats here,” answered Gretel, “but there is a white duck swimming. If I ask it, it will help us across.”

Then she called out:

Duckling, duckling,
Here stand Gretel and Hansel.
Neither a walkway nor a bridge,
Take us onto your white back.

The duckling came up to them, and Hansel climbed onto it, then asked his little sister to sit down next to him.

“No,” answered Gretel. “That would be too heavy for the duckling. It should take us across one at a time.”

That is what the good animal did, and when they were safely on the other side, and had walked on a little while, the woods grew more and more familiar to them, and finally they saw the father’s house in the distance. They began to run, rushed inside, and threw their arms around the father’s neck.

The man had not had even one happy hour since he had left the children in the woods. However, the woman had died. Gretel shook out her apron, scattering pearls and precious stones around the room, and Hansel added to them by throwing one handful after the other from his pockets.

Now all their cares were at an end, and they lived happily together.

My tale is done,
A mouse has run.

And whoever catches it can make for himself from it a large, large fur cap.