The Three Little Men In the Wood


Faith of Our Fairy Tales #10 (Original story / photo)

Story Scripture: And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. – Luke 6:31

Story Saying: Remember! It is Christianity to do good always – even to those who do evil to us. – Charles Dickens

Behind the Story: This story has elements of Cinderella in it, and the ending is similar to the ending of Brother and Sister, but it is still quite different and makes for a good read. One girl is good and kind while her step-sister and step-mother are bad and mean. Because her step-daughter is beautiful and lovable, and her own daughter is ugly and repulsive, the step-mother does all she can to make the kind girl’s life miserable. Despite the harsh demands that are placed on her, the kind girl never becomes bitter toward her step-sister and step-mother. She doesn’t let their cold hearts freeze her warm one. Their spite does not cause her to become selfish.

Even when asked to do the impossible (find fresh strawberries in the dead of winter while wearing nothing but a paper dress), she is obedient and obliging.

While searching for the strawberries, the kind girl comes across a hut where three little men are living. Her step-mother gave her one piece of hard bread and she begins to eat it. When the three little men ask for some, she divides it in two and gives them a half. After eating, they give her broom and tell her to sweep the snow at the back door. While she is doing that, the men discuss what to give her as she is so good and shared her bread with them.

The first said his gift was for her to grow more beautiful every day. The second said his gift was for gold pieces to fall out of her mouth every time she spoke. The third said his gift was for a king to marry her.

While sweeping the snow, the kind girl finds fresh strawberries and fills her basket full. She thanks the little men and goes home to her step-mother and step-sister. When they see the gold that falls from her mouth as she talks, the step-sister insists on going out to find strawberries in hopes that gold will fall from her mouth too.

This mean girl comes across the same hut and the same three little men. Even though her mother gave her bread, butter, and cake to eat, she refuses to share when the men ask her for some. When they show her the broom and tell her to sweep the snow at the back door, she says: “Sweep for yourselves. I am not your servant.” And when she sees that they aren’t going to give her anything, she leaves and goes angrily home without finding any strawberries.

Because she was so naughty and had a wicked, envious heart, the three little men had different gifts for her. The first said his gift was for her to grow uglier every day. The second said his gift was for toads to fall out of her mouth every time she spoke. The third said his gift was for her to die a miserable death.

The kind girl and the mean girl both went out looking for strawberries, but only one found them. Both went into the same hut with the same three little men, but the gifts they were given were quite the opposite. We often get out of life what we put into it. If we are kind, good things will come back to us; however, if we are unkind, unpleasant things will be our reward. The effects (good or bad) of our actions may not take place immediately, but what goes around eventually does come all the way back around.

Even when others are unkind or unreasonable, it is always the Christian thing to do good!

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