Hansel and Gretel | Sunday Observer

Hansel and Gretel

17 October, 2021

Hansel and Gretel, a brother and a sister, lived with their father and stepmother at the edge of a wood. Their father was a woodcutter and though he worked very hard the family was very poor. One day, the woodcutter did not have money to feed all four of them.

That night he asked his wife,” What shall we do”? “I have money to buy food for only two. How am I to feed the children”? “I know what we have to do” she said.

His wife had no love for the children. She thought this was a good chance to get rid of the children forever. “Tomorrow morning we must take the children to the thickest area of the wood and leave them there. They will never be able to find their way home. Then, we will be alright”

The woodcutter was horrified at what his wife said. He loved his children dearly and refused to agree to his wife’s plan.

But the woodcutter’s wife did not give him any peace till he agreed to her wicked plan. So, in the end he agreed to it but he was very unhappy about it.

Unknown to the woodcutter and his wife, Hansel and Gretel were up. They could not fall asleep as they were very hungry. When they heard the wicked plan Gretel cried bitterly. Hansel comforted her saying he would look after her.

After their parents fell asleep Hansel crept out in to the garden. The moon shone and everything was bathed in a silvery light. The white pebbles in the garden shone like silver. Because of the moonlight Hansel could see very well. He collected as many white pebbles as he could and stuffed the in to his pockets. He crept back to bed and fell asleep.

The children were woken up very early the next morning by their stepmother. “Get ready quickly, we are going to the wood to cut wood “she said.

Soon, the little family left the cottage and started walking to the wood.

Hansel kept falling behind, stopping and looking back.

The woodcutter noticed this and asked Hansel why he was falling back.

“My white cat is on the roof and I am saying goodbye to her “said Hansel.“ It is the sunlight falling on the chimney, you silly goose” said his stepmother sharply. Actually, what Hansel was doing was dropping his pebbles along the way to leave a trail which could be followed later.

They reached the middle of the wood where the trees were very close and the growth was very thick. It was dark too as the sunlight could not penetrate the thick overhead canopy. The woodcutter made a fire so Hansel and Gretel will not be cold. The stepmother told them that she and their father were going to cut wood and will come for them once they finish their work.

The children waited for their parents. The shadows in the wood grew longer and evening fell. Tired out the children fell asleep holding on to each other for warmth and comfort. The fire had gone out.

When Hansel and Gretel woke it was pitch dark. Terrified Gretel began to cry. Hansel told her not to cry and that when the moon comes out he will take her home using the trail of pebbles. When the moon rose Hansel took Gretel by the hand and set off home following the trail of pebbles.

Their stepmother scolded them saying “Where have you been you naughty children” but their father was overjoyed to see them. He had been heartbroken at leaving them behind.

Once again, the family started running short on food. The stepmother again insisted that the children be abandoned in the wood and forced the woodcutter to agree to this wicked plan.

This time too the children overheard the conversation and Gretel cried. Hansel told her not to worry. After their parents fell asleep Hansel tried to go outside to collect more pebbles but the stepmother had locked the door. He went back to bed, comforted Gretel and went ot sleep.

The next morning the stepmother woke the children and gave them a small piece of bread.

Then, the family set off for the wood. Again, Hansel lagged behind and his father asked him why?

Hansel said he was looking at his little dove. His stepmother said” No, you silly boy, It is only the sunlight on the chimney”

Their stepmother led the children to a part of the wood they did not know. Then she and the woodcutter left saying they were going to chop wood and would come back for the children when they finished.

To be continued next week Source: Internet