Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel story teaches children two important lessons, the first and the most important one is not to trust strangers, even if they look kind and treat you well, the second one always depends on yourself and your thinking to avoid or get out of trouble not an outside help that might or might not come.

Hansel and Gretel

Hard by a great forest dwelt a poor woodcutter with his wife and his two children,

the boy was called Hansel and the girl Gretel had little to bite and break

and once when great dearth fell upon the land he could no longer procure even daily

bread, now when he thought over this by night in his bed and tossed about in his

anxiety, he groaned and said to his wife “What is to become of us, how are we to feed

our poor children when we no longer have anything even for ourselves”,

“I tell you what husband!” answer the woman “Early in the morning we will take

the children out to the forest to where it is the thickest there, we will light a fire for

them and give each of them one more piece of bread and then we will go to our work

and leave them alone, they will not find the way home again and we shall be rid

of them”,

“No wife,” said the man “I will not do that! how can I bear to leave my children alone

in the forest?! the wild animals would soon come and tear them to pieces”,

“oh you Phil!” she said “Then we must pass all four die of hunger and you may as well

plane the planks for our coffins”, and she left him no peace until he consented,

“But I feel very sorry for the poor children all the same,” said the man.

The two children had also not been able to sleep of hunger and had heard what their

stepmother had said to their father, Gretel wept bitter tears and said to Hansel

“Now all is over with this”,

“be quiet Gretel,” said Hansel do not distress yourself, I will soon find a way to help us”,

and when the old folks had fallen asleep he got up put on his little coat, open the door

below, and crept outside.

The moon shone brightly, and the white pebbles which lay in front of the house

glittered like real silver pennies, Hansel stooped and stuffed the little pocket of his

coat with as many as he could get in, then he went back and said to Gretel

be comforted, dear little sister, and sleep in peace; God will not forsake us,” and he lay

down again in his bed.

When they dawned but before the sun had risen, the woman came and awoke the two

children saying “Get up you sluggards, we’re going into the forest to fetch wood”

she gave each a little piece of bread and said, “There is something for your dinner but

do not eat it up before then, for you won’t get anything else”، Gretel took the bread

under her apron, as Hansel had the pebbles in his pocket, then they all set out

together, on the way to the forest, when they had walked a short time, Hansel stood

still and peeped back at the house and did so again and again; his father said

“Hansel, what are you looking at there, and staying behind for pay attention

and do not forget how to use your legs”,

“Oh, father,” said Hansel “I’m looking at my little white cat which is sitting upon

the roof and wants to say goodbye to me”,

the wife said, “Fool, that is not your little cat; that is a morning sun that is shining

on the chimneys”,

Hansel however had not been looking back at the cat but had been constantly

throwing one of the white pebble stones out of his pocket on the road when they

had reached the middle of the forest, the father said, “Now children pile up some

wood, and I will light a fire that you may not be cold”,

Hansel and Gretel gathered brushwood together as high as a little hill, the brushwood

was lighted, and when the flames were burning very high, the woman said, “now

children lay yourselves down by the fire and rest; we will go into the forest and cut

some wood, when we have done we will come back and fetch you away”,

Hansel and Gretel sat by the fire and when noon came, each ate a little piece

of bread and as they heard the strokes of the wood ax, they believed that their father

was near, it was not the ax, however, but a branch that he had fastened to a withered

tree, which the wind was blowing backward and forwards, and as they had been

sitting such a long time, their eyes closed with fatigue, and they fell fast asleep,

when at last they awoke, it was already night.

Gretel began to cry and said, “How are we going to get out of the force now,”

but Hansel comforted her and said, “Just wait for a little until the moon has risen,

and then we will soon find a way”, and when the full moon had risen, Hansel took

his little sister by the hand and followed the pebbles, which were sewn like newly-coined

silver pieces and showed them the way.

They walked the whole night long and by break of day came once more to their

hansel and gretel

father’s house, they knocked at

the door, and when the woman opened

it and saw that it was Hansel and Gretel,

she said

“you naughty children, why have you

slept so long in the forest?

we thought you were never coming

back at all”,

the father, however, rejoiced for it had cut him to the heart to leave them behind

alone, not long afterward, there was once more great Darth throughout the land

and the children heard their mother sing at night to their father, “Everything is eaten

again, we have one-half loaf left, and that is the end; the children must go; we will

take them farther into the wood so that they will not find their way out again,

there are no other means of saving ourselves”,

The man’s heart was heavy, and he thought, “It would be better for you to share

the last mouthful with your children”,

The woman, however, wouldn’t listen to anything that he had to say but scolded

and reproached him he who says a must say be likewise and as he had yielded

the first time he had to do so a second time, also the children, however, were still

awake and had heard the conversation.

When the old folks were asleep, Hansel again got up and wanted to go out

and pick up pebbles as he had done before, but the woman had locked the door

and Hansel could not get out. Nevertheless, he comforted his little sister and said:

“do not cry, Gretel, go to sleep quietly; the good god will help us.”

Early in the morning came the woman and took the children out of their beds,

their piece of bread was given to them, but it was still smaller than the time before,

on the way into the forest, Hansel crumbled in his pocket and often stood

still and threw a morsel on the ground, “Hansel, why do you stop and look round?”

said the father “Go on, I am looking back at my little pigeon, which is sitting

on the roof and wants to say goodbye to me,” answered Hansel,

“Fool!” said the woman “That is not your little pigeon that is a morning sun that’s

shining on a chimney”,

Hansel, however, little by little threw all the crumbs on the path, the woman led

the children still deeper into the forest where they had never in their lives been

before then a great fire was made again, and the mother said “Just sit there

you children and when you’re tired you must sleep a little, we are going into

the forest to cut wood and in the evening when we are done we’ll come back and

fetch you away” when it was noon, Gretel shared her piece of bread with Hansel

who had scattered his by the way, then they fell asleep, and evening passed but

no one came to the poor children, they did not wake until it was dark night

and Hansel comforted his little sister and said “Just wait Gretel until the moon rises

and then we shall see the crumbs of bread which I have strewn about; they will

show us our way home again”,

when the moon came, they set out, but they found no crumbs for the many

thousands of birds that fly about in the woods and fields had picked them all up,

Hansel said to Gretel “we shall soon find the way”, but they did not find it,

they walked the whole night and the next day too from morning till evening but they

did not get out of the forest and they were very hungry for they had nothing to eat

but two or three berries which grew on the ground, and as they were so weary

that their legs would carry them no longer, they lay down beneath a tree

and fell asleep.

It was now three mornings since they had left their father’s house, they began

to walk again but they always came deeper into the forest and if help did not

come soon they must die of hunger and weariness.

When it was midday they saw a beautiful snow-white bird sitting on a bow

that sang so delightfully that they stood and listened to it and when its song was

over it spread its wings and flew away before them and they followed it until they

reached a little house on the roof of which it alighted, and when they approached

the little house they saw that it was built of bread and covered with cakes, but that

the windows were of clear sugar, “we will set to work on that” said Hansel “

and have a good meal, I will eat a bit of the roof and you Gretel can eat some

of the windows, it will taste sweet” Hansel reached up and broke off a little of the roof

to try how it tasted and Gretel went against the window and nibbled at the panes.

Then a soft voice cried from the parlor “nibble nibble gnaw, who is nibbling

at my little house?”,

the children answered “The wind, the wind, the heaven-born wind” and went on

eating without disturbing themselves, Hansel who liked the taste of the roof tore

down a great piece of it and Gretel pushed out the whole of one round windowpane

sat down and enjoyed herself with it.

Suddenly the door opened, and a woman as old as the hills who supported herself

on crutches came creeping out, Hansel and Gretel were so terribly frightened that

they let fall what they had in their hands, the old woman, however, nodded

her head  and said “oh you dear children who have brought you here, do come in

and stay with me, no harm shall happen to you”,

she took them both by the hand and led them into her little house, then good food

was set before them, milk and pancakes with sugar apples and nuts afterward two

pretty little beds were covered with clean white linen and Hansel and Gretel

lay down in them and thought they were in heaven.

The old woman who had only pretended to be so kind was in reality a wicked

witch who lay in wait for children and had only built a little house of bread in order

to entice them there, when a child fell into her power she killed it cooked, and ate it

and that was a feast day with her, witches have red eyes and cannot see far

but they have a keen scent like the beasts and are aware when human beings draw

near, when Hansel and Gretel came into her neighborhood she laughed with malice

and said mockingly “I have them, they shall not escape me again”.

Early in the morning before the children were awake she was already up and when

she saw both of them sleeping and looking so pretty with her plump and rosy


she muttered to herself that will be a dainty mouthful, then she seized Hansel with

her shriveled hand carried him into a little stable and locked him in behind a grated

door “scream as he might, it would not help him”, then she went to Gretel, shook

her till she awoke and cried “get it lazy thing, fetch some water and cook

something for your brother, he is in the stable outside and is to be made fat,

when he is fat, I will eat him”,

Gretel began to weep bitterly but it was all in vain for she was forced to do what

the wicked witch commanded and now the best food was cooked for poor Hansel

but Gretel got nothing but crab shells, every morning the woman crept to the little

stable and cried “Hansel stretch out your finger so that I may feel if you will soon be

fat”, Hansel, however, stretched out a little bone to her and the old woman who had

dim eyes could not see it and thought it was Hansel’s finger and were astonished

that there was no way of fattening him. When four weeks had gone by and Hansel still

remained thin, she was seized with impatience and would not wait any longer

“now then Gretel” she cried to the girl

“stir yourself and bring some water, let Hansel

be fat or lean, tomorrow I will kill him and cook him”,

Uh how the poor little sister did lament when she had to fetch the water and how

her tears did flow down her cheeks “dear god do help us” she cried ” if the wild

beasts in the forest had but devoured us we should, at any rate, have died together”,

“Just keep your noise to yourself,” said the old woman “it won’t help you at all”.

Early in the morning, Gretel had to go out and hang up the cauldron with the water

and light the fire “we will bake first” said the old woman “I have already heated

the oven and kneaded the dough”, she pushed poor Gretel out of the oven from

which flames of fire were already darting, “creep in” said the witch “and see if it is

properly heated so that we can put the bread in?”, and once Gretel was inside,

she intended to shut the oven and let her bake in it and then she would eat her too,

but Gretel saw what she had in mind and said “I do not know how I am to do it,

how do I get in?”,

“Silly goose,” said the woman “the door is big enough, just look, I can see it,

hansel and gretel I can get in it myself!” and she crept up

and thrust her head into the oven,

then Gretel gave her a push that drove her far

into it and shut the iron door and fastened

the boat, ah then she began to howl quite

horribly, but Gretel ran away, and the godless

witch was miserably burnt to death.

Gretel, however, ran like lightning to Hansel,

opened his little stable and cried

“Hansel are we saved? the old witch is dead”, then hansel sprang like a bird from

its cage when the doors opened, how they did rejoice and embrace each other

and dance about and kiss each other and as they had no longer any need

to fear her, they went into the witch’s house and in every corner there stood chests

full of pearls and jewels.

“These are far better than the pebbles,” said Hansel and thrust into his pockets

whatever could be got in and Gretel said “I too will take something home with me”

and filled her pinafore full, “but now we must be off” said Hansel “that we may

get out of the witch’s forest”.

When they had walked for two hours they came to a great stretch of water

“We can not cross,” said Hansel, “I see no foot plank and no bridge”,

“and there is also no fairy” answered Gretel, “but a white duck is swimming there,

if I ask her she will help us over” and then she cried

“little duck, little duck downstairs

sea Gansel and Gretel are waiting for thee

there’s never a plank or bridge insight

take us across on the back so white”

The duck came to them and Hansel seated himself on its back and told his sister

to sit by him, “no” replied Gretel “that would be too heavy for the little duck,

she shall take us across one after the other”, the little duck did so, and when

they were once safely across and had walked for a short time, the forest seemed

to be more and more familiar to them and at length, they saw from afar

their father’s house.

They began to run rushed into the parlor and threw themselves round their father’s

neck, the man had not known one happy hour since he had left the children in

the forest, the woman, however, was dead.

Gretel emptied her pinafore until pearls and precious stones ran about the room,

and Hansel threw one handful after another out of his pocket to add to them,

then all anxiety was at an end and they lived together in perfect happiness my tail

is done there runs a mouse whosoever catches it may make himself a big fur cap

out of it.

The End