I'm sure you all know the story of Hansel and Gretel, but this vintage version told in rhyme is a little different. The witch living at Toffee House is a kind and gentle soul. When Jack and his twin sister stumble across her home in the forest, the kindly witch takes them in feeds them and offers them a bed for the night.
Jack and his twin sister set out one day, into the woods they went to play, running about amongst the trees they lost their way now, if you please. So off they both ran hand in hand, but suddenly came to a stand, and neither of them spoke a word, was this the house of which they'd heard?
"Come on." said Jack "Let's go quite near." "Oh, goodness," Kate cried, "Do look here." They crept quite close up to the door, and then what do you think they saw? A witch in such a tall black hat, upon her shoulders a black cat, with eyes that turned from red to green. Oh! Such a sight you've never seen.
and turning round to run away, they heard a kind voice call out "Stay, if you run away in the wood like that, you never will find the right way back!" "Inside my house you both shall see, if you just come along with me, how everything is warm and bright and cats to guard me day and night."
She opened then a cupboard door and oh! what sweets she had in store, the children clapped their hands in glee.
The witch said, "eat anything you see and if you're thirsty after that, well just you follow my black cat, a Toffee Well not far away is full of sherbet every day."
"I really think we ought to go, but the way home,"said Jack "I do not know." The witch who heard said, "that's alright, why don't you stay with me to-night?" Oh! what a darling little bed, with softest pillow for your head, and in the morning with a sigh, they kissed this kind old witch good-bye.
She stroked her cat and said, "be good, take them both safely through the wood." And pussy right before their eyes grew into a much bigger size! Down paths they turned from left to right, till Jack cried "there's our house in sight." But the cat with it's funny red green eyes had vanished now to their surprise.
Nanny came running, "what a scare you've given us, I do declare. Oh never will I let you stray into those horrid woods to play." They told her all their story through "and every word," said Jack, "is true, and if you will not make a fuss one day we'll take you too with us."
But soon they gave their nurse the slip into the woods they both did skip. But though they searched, 'twas all in vain the witch's house to find again.
So perhaps when you have read this book you'll all go out and have a look, and if the cat you meet one day then ask him please to show the way.
Toffee House - No author, artist or publishing details given. The only identifying mark is the number 831 printed on the back cover.
The front cover reminds me of toffee tins from long ago Christmases. Maybe the artist had the same thought when he/she came to do the illustrations.
Nursery Rhyme toffee tin produced for Blue Bird confectionery by Harry Vincent.
The ‘rain’ behind the cottage in the previous picture is a small square of fabric purchased from Barrington Patchwork. Collecting pieces of fabric is just another of my hobbies. I can never resist even though I have no idea what they will be used for. These are two of my latest purchases;
Barrington Court (and the patchwork shop) last week. It's one of our favourite National Trust Properties, the gardens are beautiful at this time of the year.
Come Tip Toe Thru the Tulips with me!
I wish you all sunshine and happiness in the coming week...