Two sources I was reading recently referenced this tale, so I thought I would feature it here. Turns out, it's not as easy as it seems-this sad, short little tale was excluded from later editions of the Grimms' Children and Household Tales, apparently including my own copy (which is supposedly the "complete fairy tales"...) and the text is not as easily found on the internet as most Grimm tales. I did end up finding it here.
I was going to include comments at the end but found I was at a loss for words...so I'll let the tale speak for itself, but just mention that this tale reflects, like many others, the very real problem of hunger many hearers and tellers of fairy tales faced.
The daughter replied, "Oh no, dearest mother, spare me. I'll go out and see to it that I can get something to eat without having to beg for it."
And so she went out, returned, and brought with her a small piece of bread that they all ate, but it did little to ease the pangs of hunger.
And so the mother said to her other daughter, "Now it's your turn."
But she replied, "Oh no, dearest mother, spare me. I'll go out and get something to eat without anyone noticing it."
And so she went out, returned, and brought with her two small pieces of bread. They all ate them, but it was too little to ease their pangs of hunger. After a few hours, the mother said to them once again: "You will have to die, otherwise we'll all perish."
The girls replied, "Dearest mother, we'll lie down and go to sleep, and we won't rise again until the day of judgement." And so they lay down and slept so soundly that no one could awaken them. The mother left, and not a soul knows where she is."