Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel eating cakes

Hansel and Gretel

An Adaptation of the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm

Once upon a time there lived a family. They were very poor and lived on the edge of a forest. There was a mother, a father, a boy and a girl. The boy was called Hansel and the girl was called Gretel. The family didn’t have any money to buy food and that night they all went to bed hungry.

Awake, the father said to his wife: What should we do? We don’t have enough food for ourselves, let alone for the children.

“I have an idea.” said his wife, “Why don’t we take the children for a long walk in the forest? We could give them some bread and leave them there to look after themselves! They’ll never find their way home and we can look after ourselves.”

“Leave our children alone in the forest? But they will be cold and scared. They might meet a bear! How could we do that to them?”

“Think about it. Either we give ourselves a chance to live and leave them in the forest to fend for themselves, or we all die here of hunger!”

The two of them argued all night about it. But eventually, the father agreed.

Also lying awake, were Hansel and Gretel. Their tummies hurt from hunger and so couldn’t get to sleep. They both heard the conversation their parents were having and Gretel started to cry.

“We shall die in the forest!” she said.

But Hansel comforted her and said that he would come up with a plan. When he was sure their parents were finally asleep, he crept downstairs and into the garden. The path shimmered in the moonlight as it was made of tiny shiny pebbles. Hansel grabbed as many as he could and stuffed them into his pocket. He then snuck back upstairs and slid into bed.

In the morning, the mother woke the children and told them that today they were all going into the forest to collect wood. Then she handed them some bread and they all set off.

After a short time, the mother noticed that Hansel was walking slowly and always stayed at the back.

“Come on boy, keep up!” she called.

But Hansel didn’t keep up . He wanted to be at the back so that he could drop his pebbles on the ground, one at a time along their path.

When they had reached the middle of the forest, they all scurried about gathering wood. Then the father made a nice fire and they all sat around it.

“Now, children,” said mother, “lay yourselves down by the fire and rest. We will go into the forest
and cut some more wood. Then we will come back to collect you.”

Hansel and Gretel looked at each other. They hadn’t forgotten what they had heard, but they stayed by the fire. They could hear an axe chopping at trees and thought perhaps their parents had changed their minds. They both had some of the bread and then fell fast asleep.

But it wasn’t an axe at all. It was a broken branch banging against a trunk. And when they awoke, the forest was dark.

Gretel began to cry and said:How are we going to get out of the forest now?

Hansel smiled and pointed. The moon was full and shone down onto a line of shimmering pebbles! They held hands and followed the pebbles all the way home.

When their mother opened the door she became angry. But their father was overjoyed to see them as he loved them so much.

Not long afterwards, the mother decided they would leave the children in the forest again, but this time take them further.
The children again heard the plan and Hansel snuck out of bed to collect pebbles. But their mother had locked the door and he could not. So he stayed awake all night trying to think of a plan.

Early in the morning they all set off once again on the long walk into the forest. Once again the children were given bread and once again Hansel stayed at the back. He was secretly dropping little bits of bread along their path so that they might follow the trail home.

Walking much deeper into the forest this time, they all collected some wood and made a fire.

“Now, children,’ said mother, ‘lay yourselves down by the fire and rest. We will go into the forest and cut some more wood. Then we will come back to collect you.”

After such a long walk, they were both exhausted. Gretel shared her bit of bread with Hansel, as he had used his to make the trail, and they both fell fast asleep. They did not awake until it was dark. But this time Gretel was not scared. They waited for the moon to shine onto the forest and for the bread to show them the way home.

But they soon realised that while they had been sleeping, the forest birds had eaten all the crumbs and there was no path to lead them home.

Gretel became scared again.

“Now we’ll never get out of the forest,” she sobbed.

But Hansel comforted her.

“Don’t worry. I’m sure we’ll find a way,” he said.

So they set off.

They walked for hours and didn’t find their way.

They walked all night, but didn’t find their way.

The poor children were lost. They walked all the next day and didn’t realise that they were going deeper and deeper into the forest. As they curled beneath a tree for the night, they began to worry that their mother’s plan was working. Their tummies hurt dreadfully of hunger and they were becoming weak!

On the third day, they reached a clearing. And in the middle of the clearing stood a house. This was no ordinary house. This house was made of gingerbread and cakes and scones and biscuits. It was covered in juicy raisins, pink icing, green gummies and the windows were made of clear hard sugar.

Hansel and Gretel were astonished. They ran towards the house and began to tuck in. Hansel took a huge bite out of the roof.

“Mmm, chocolate,” he spat; spraying chocolate crumbs out in front of him.

Gretel licked a window “Mmm, strawberry sugar!” she smiled; her tongue looking slightly pink.

They giggled and ate. They ate and giggled. And when they were feeling a little bit sick, they ate and giggled some more.

They had just started a race to see who could eat a doughnut the fastest, when the door of the ginger bread house burst open. They both froze, each with jam round their lips and sugar in their hair. In the doorway stood a little old woman. She smiled.

“Why children, are you here alone? Are you so hungry? Why don’t you come inside and keep warm. I will look after you.”

So the children went inside and warmed themselves by the fire. The old woman then gave them milk and pancakes, with sugar, apples, and nuts. Delicious! Then, Hansel and Gretel lay down in two lovely little beds and, as they fell asleep, they thought they were in heaven.

But the children had not walked into heaven. They had walked straight into a witch’s trap! The kind old lady, who took them in, was in fact a mean and nasty witch. She lived in a gingerbread house so that children would want to come. Then she would fatten them up and eat them. Though she couldn’t see very well, she had a very good sense of smell and had known the children were coming long before they arrived. She was now looking forward to some children dinner!

She snuck over to where the children were sleeping and, as she couldn’t see them very well, she gently pinched their cheeks to see which was the fattest. Neither child had very much meat on it. So she got them both out of bed, locked Hansel in the stable, and made Gretel cook lots of fattening food for him. She wanted a lovely big fat Hansel for Sunday roast!

Poor Hansel; locked in the stable. With poor Gretel, living with the witch and forced to do all the cooking and cleaning.

Each morning, the witch would go over to the stable to see how fat Hansel had become.

“Stretch out your finger, little boy, so I can feel how fat you are!” she would call.

Instead of his finger, Hansel had found a small bone in his dinner and he stretched that out for her. Not being able to see very well, the witch would feel the bone and say: Why, you’re not fat at all! Gretel, cook some more dinner for Hansel!

After four weeks had gone by, the witch was starting to lose patience. She felt Hansel’s bone for the last time and announced:
I will not wait any longer. Fat or skinny, I will eat you tomorrow!

Then she told Gretel make some dough in preparation for the ‘Hansel Pie’.

Gretel could not help but cry as she worked. She wished they had both met a bear in the forest so that they could have
both died together.

Poor children, neither of them could sleep a wink that night. And in the morning, the witch was getting ready. She shoved Gretel towards the oven.

“Check that the oven is hot enough,” she said as she opened the door.

Great flames flapped out at Gretel and she took a step backwards.

“Don’t be a baby, girl, go closer and check that it is hot enough!” she said again licking her lips.

Gretel had got a little fatter too and she was looking a little delicious. But Gretel realised that if the witch wanted to eat Hansel then she probably wanted to eat her too. So she stood back and said: But how do I get in? It’s very small.

“Don’t be silly girl! An adult could get in there! See!” she said, putting her head and shoulders in the oven.

Gretel pushed the witch with all her might and she went screaming into the oven. Gretel then shut the door and locked it.
Gretel felt terrible about doing it, but she had no choice. She ran towards the stable and set Hansel free. Oh how happy they both were! They clapped and danced and hugged one another.

They found boxes full of jewels and pearls in the witch’s house and they stuffed their pockets full of them. Then they grabbed huge pieces of chocolate roof and strawberry window and headed out into the forest.

It wasn’t long before they recognised where they were. They knew the way home from here and they started to skip.

In the distance, they could see their father’s house and they raced towards it with glee. As they approached, the door flung open and their father rushed out to greet them with tears in his eyes. He had missed them so much. He had been so sad to leave them that he decided to leave his wife instead and to look for his children.

But now they were home and they brought jewels and pearls and the family would never go hungry again!

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