Once an old man and his wife lived in a little old house in the woods. They should have been a happy old couple with all the basic necessities of life available to them but for one thing: they wanted a little child of their own, and they had none. One fine morning, when the woman was making some gingerbread, she cut a cake in the shape of a little boy and put it in the oven.
When she opened the oven door to check the cake, out jumped the Gingerbread Boy. The old woman was very happy to see the boy. She wanted to keep him like a son. But the Gingerbread Boy ran away as fast as his legs could carry him. The little old woman called her husband, and they both ran after him, but they could not catch him. The Gingerbread Boy ran until he came to a field full of mowers.
The mowers set out to run after him. The Gingerbread Boy ran on and on, until he met a fox. Now, on and on ran the fox after the Gingerbread Boy until they came to a river. “Would you like to go across?” asked the sly old fox, “jump on to my tail.” So, the Gingerbread Boy and the fox began swimming across the river. They had gone only a few inches deep when he said to the Gingerbread Boy, “The water is deep and we may drown! Jump on to my back!” So, the Gingerbread Boy jumped up the fox’s back.
The fox swam a little deeper and called out, “The water grows deeper still. Jump on to my nose!” So, the Gingerbread Boy jumped up to the fox’s nose. But just before they could reach the other bank, the sly old fox opened his mouth wide, and in went the Gingerbread Boy! “Dear me!” he said, “Here I am a quarter gone.” And then he said, “Now, I’m half gone!”And then, “I’m three-quarters gone!” And at last he said, “Oh dear! I’m all gone!” And he could never speak again. Only if he had not run away from the old woman’s house, he would have been living happily.