Hansel and Gretel
Once, there lived a woodcutter on the edge of a large forest with his children and his wife who was the children’s stepmother. Although the woodcutter worked hard he was still poor. He did not have enough food for his family.
One day the woodcutter’s wife told her husband that he must take his children Hansel and Gretel into deep forest and leave them there for they didn’t have enough food to feed them.
The children were very frightened for Hansel had heard them talking and told Gretel about their stepmother’s idea. Then Hansel made a plan.
Later when the moon was high, and his parents were sleeping, Hansel sneaked outside and gathered as many grey pebbles as he could.
Next morning, their father told Hansel and Gretel that they were all going to forest to gather woods for fire. As they went deeper and deeper into the forest, Hansel kept dropping the grey pebbles, which he had collected the previous night to mark the way home.
When they finally stopped, in the deep forest, the woodcutter built a fire, and left the children with pieces of cakes for their supper. He told them that he would return after he had completed cutting woods. But the children knew that he was telling a lie and would not return. For a while they slept by the fire. When night came, with the help of moonlight on the grey pebbles, both Hansel and Gretel retraced the path and returned home.
“You naughty children”! Cried their stepmother when she saw Hansel and Gretel. “Where were you? Why did you sleep for so long?” But in truth she was angry because they had returned.
The next day, the woodcutter’s wife made him lead Hansel and Gretel back into the forest again.
This time however, the woodcutter led Hansel and Gretel into forest much deeper. As Hansel had not time to collect pebbles so, he crumbled his bread and left a trail of crumbs instead. Hansel and Gretel slept in the forest until the night and then they started to search for the path of bread crumbs. But alas! the bread had been eaten by birds, so they could not find their way back.
They searched and searched until they were so tired that they decided to stop and sleep. The next morning Hansel and Gretel saw a colourful bird who sang so sweetly that they followed it. It flew from one branch to another branch.
Soon, they found themselves in an open field where they saw a strange house. It was made of ginger, bread, with a roof of chocolates and windows of green sugar.
The children were very happy. They each broke off a piece of the house and started eating it. No sooner had they swallowed a bite that they heard a voice:
Nibble, nibble like a mouse who’s that nibbling at my house?
The door opened and there stood an old lady. The children were so frightened that they dropped what they were eating.
The woman smiled and invited Hansel and Gretel into the house and she gave them a wonderful dinner of chocolate cake, banana pudding and grapes. Then she made up beds for them to sleep. Hansel and Gretel did not know that the woman who looked like a gentle grandmother, in reality was a cunning, wicked witch! The next morning, the witch carried Hansel to a little cage and locked him inside.
“Now” She laughed her wicked laugh and said, “I’ll fatten him up and then he will make a tasty meal for me to eat.”
Then, she ordered Gretel to fetch water and cook food for Hansel because she wanted him to grow fat fast. Both brother and sister cried and begged the witch to be set them free but she just gave her wicked laugh.
Every day, the witch, who could not see properly, used to feel Hansel’s finger through the bars of the cage as she wanted to know whether he was getting fat enough to eat. But Hansel was very clever and he would give her only a thin bone to feel. A month went by. The witch was becoming very impatient, for Hansel didn’t seem to grow fat.
One day, the witch ordered Gretel to make a fire. She ordered Gretel to climb up into the oven to see if the fire was ready. But Gretel said, “How can I go inside the oven to see?”
The witch becomes angry and climbed up into the oven to show Gretel how to look at the fire. In a blink of an eye, Gretel gave the witch a hard push that sent her tumbling all the way in. Then she quickly banged the door shut.
Gretel now ran to freed Hansel. As now there was no witch to fear they explored the house and found boxes filled with gold and silver coins and jewels in every corner.
Both the brother and sister filled their pockets with the jewels and set out to find their way back home. Suddenly, they came across a big lake.
“How will we ever cross it without a boat or a bridge?” asked Hansel.
“Here comes a beautiful swan”. I will ask her whether she can help us”, replied Gretel.
The bird agreed to carry them across the lake. Once on the other side, Hansel and Gretel found themselves in the familiar woods. Soon, they were running down the path towards home. The woodcutter cried with joy to see his children back. His wife had died while the children were gone.
Gretel emptied the jewels from her pocket into her father’s lap while Hansel added another handful of gold and silver coins from his own pockets.
Hansel, Gretel and their father lived happily thereafter.