The Hollowed-Out Bread

A young herdess once worked in the Gefell area. A little wood woman frequently visited her at the pasture, and became well acquainted with her. One day, after the herdess had recently baked and there was no shortage of baked goods in the house, the girl took an entire loaf of bread with her with the intention of giving it to the wood woman. The latter received the bread with great joy. She broke it apart, hollowed out all the breadcrumbs, and then gathered leaves from the pasture grounds and stuffed the hollowed-out bread full with them.

This apparently childish behavior annoyed the young herdess, and she pitied the lovely bread. Suddenly, the bread was lying next to her, and the wood woman was gone. Now she did nothing else but hurriedly pour the leaves out of the hollowed-out bread and take the latter back home with her.

There, something rattled within the bread. The girl thought that a small stone might have entered the bread along with the leaves. Thus, she poured it out once more. But behold - several leaves, which had been stuck inside, had been turned into silver coins! Hurriedly, the herdess ran back to the pasture, and eagerly searched for the precious leaves. She still found them, and carried them home in her apron. But they would not turn into silver coins, and the herdess never saw the grateful wood woman again.

Source: Bechstein, L. Thüringer Sagenbuch. Zweiter Band. 1858, p. 138f.

Notes and commentary: Baking with the Forest Women