Hansel and Gretel

Authored by:Brothers Grimm
Chapter 1 / 3

Section 1

A poor woodcutter, his wife, and their two kids lived next to a large forest. Gretel was the name of the girl, while Hansel was the name of the boy. He had very little food, and once, when a severe famine hit the region, he was unable to provide even for their daily needs.

He sighed and asked his wife, "What are we going to do? " one evening as he lay in bed wondering about his issues. “When we are starving ourselves, how are we supposed to feed our kids?”

"Well, do you know what?" the woman replied. “We'll take the two kids out into the most dense part of the forest early the next morning, build a fire for them, and give each of them a small piece of bread before leaving them alone and heading for our jobs. We will get rid of them because they won't be able to find their way back home.”

"No, woman," the man replied. "I won't carry it out. How could I possibly leave my own kids in the woods by themselves? They would soon be killed by wild animals.”

“The four of us will starve to death, you fool," she remarked. “Planing the boards for our graves is the only thing you can do.” She wouldn't let him rest until he gave his consent.

“However I do feel bad for the poor kids," the man noted.

Due to their starvation, the two kids were unable to sleep, and they overheard what the stepmother told to the father.

Weeping bitterly, Gretel said to Hansel, "It's done with us!"

Hansel advised Gretel, “Keep calm and not to worry. I am aware of what to do.”

He then got up, put on his coat, opened the lower door, and sneaked outside right away the parents had fallen asleep. White stones in front of the home were sparkling like silver coins under the bright moonlight. Hansel knelt down and put as many of them as would fit in his coat's pockets.

“Be at ease, Gretel,” he added as he returned inside the house. “Nice rest. God won't leave us behind.” He then returned to bed.

The woman arrived before dawn, even before the sun rose, and woke the two kids. "You lazybones, get up. To gather wood, we need to go into the woods.” Then she said, "Here is a snack for midday," and handed a small slice of bread to each person. “You won't get any more if you eat it sooner.”

Hansel's pockets were stuffed with stones, so Gretel tucked the bread under the apron she was wearing. Then they all moved into the woods together. After they had only gone a short distance, Hansel started to halt repeatedly and turn to face the home.

"Hansel, why are you falling behind and looking back?" the father asked. “Don't forget about your legs as you pay attention right now.”

“Father, I'm staring at my white cat who is perched on the roof and wants to say goodbye to me," remarked Hansel.

“You stupid, that's not your cat,” the woman laughed. “The chimney is being illuminated by the rising sun.”

Hansel wasn't paying attention to his cat, though; instead, he was flinging the glittering stones from his pocket into the paving stones.

"You kids collect some wood, and I will start a fire so you won't freeze," the father instructed his kids when they arrived in the midst of the woods.

A mound of twigs the size of a small mountain was gathered by Hansel and Gretel.

When the twigs were well-lit on fire, the woman commanded, "Relax back by the fire and sleep. To cut wood, we're going to head into the woods. We will return to retrieve you once we are finished.”

Gretel and Hansel gathered by the fire. Everyone ate their individual piece of bread munch noon. They assumed that the father was nearby since they could hear ax strikes. It wasn't an ax, though. He had fastened a limb to a dead tree, and the wind was hammering back and forth on it. Their eyes eventually closed from fatigue after they had been sitting there for a while, and they soundly fell asleep.

It was nighttime when they finally woke up. "How will we get out of the woods?" cried Gretel as she started to cry.

“Wait a little until the moon rises, and then we'll find the path,” Hansel reassured her.

Hansel held his younger sister by the hand after the full moon had risen. They followed the path indicated by the stones, which shimmered there like freshly struck coins. After walking all night, they reached the father's home as dawn was just beginning to break.

When Hansel and Gretel knocked on the door, the mother answered it by saying, "You evil children, why did you sleep so long in the woods? We assumed you didn't intend to return.


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