There was once a man whose wife had died and a woman whose husband had died. They each had a daughter and the girls knew each other.
The woman said to the man's daughter, "Tell your father that I will marry him, and you will be treated better than my own daughter."
The girl went home and told her father what the woman had said and soon there was a wedding and the man and woman were married.
However, the woman hated her new stepdaughter. She was so jealous because the girl was pleasant and pretty while her own daughter was ugly and spiteful.
One day, in the middle of winter, the woman gave her stepdaughter a little piece of hard bread and a dress made out of paper and asked her to go and pick a basket of strawberries.
The girl obediently went out of the house. There was snow lying everywhere. When she entered the wood, she saw a small house with three little men inside.
They called her in and said, "Give us some food!" She broke her little piece of bread in two and gave them half.
After that they had eaten her bread, they gave her a broom and asked her to sweep the snow away from the back door. When she had gone outside to do it, the little men talked among themselves about what they could do for her because she was so kind and pretty.
The first one said, "She will grow prettier every day." The second said, "Each time she speaks, a piece of gold shall fall from her mouth." The third said, "A king shall come and take her for his wife."
Meanwhile, the girl was doing as the little men had asked her and she found some fine, ripe strawberries. She joyfully filled her little basket, thanked the little men, and ran off home.
While she explained everything that had happened to her, a piece of gold fell out of her mouth with every word that she spoke.
The stepsister was very jealous. She asked her mother for a splendid fur coat to wear; some bread, butter and cakes; and then went into the wood to find the little house.
When she found the place, she gave the little men no greeting. Instead, she sat herself down by the warm oven, and began eating her food all by herself. She also refused to sweep by the back door when they asked her to.
When she saw that they were not going to give her anything, she left the house. The three little men said among themselves, "What shall we do to her? She has such a wicked, jealous heart.”
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