Hansel and Gretel | Sunday Observer
Well loved tales

Hansel and Gretel

24 October, 2021

Continued from last week

After the woodcutter and his wife left, Hansel and Gretel played in the wood. At lunch time Gretel shared her small piece of bread with Hansel. The children fell asleep and when they awoke it was evening. But, there was no sign of the woodcutter or his wife. Soon, darkness fell and Gretel started to cry in fright.

Hansel comforted her saying “Don’t cry. When the moon rises we will be able to go home. We can follow the trail of breadcrumbs I laid in the morning by its light”.

The moon rose and bathed everything in its silvery glow. Hansel took Gretel’s hand and they set off to look for the breadcrumbs. But alas, there were no breadcrumbs. The birds had eaten the breadcrumbs.

Without the breadcrumb trail Hansel and Gretel were lost in the wood. They walked that whole night and the next day as well. But they did not find a way out of the wood. They were very tired and hungry. When they could not walk anymore the children went to sleep.

The next morning Hansel and Gretel started their walk again. By noon, Hansel was frightened that they would faint from hunger.

At that moment, a beautiful white bird flew by and perched on a nearby branch singing sweetly. Its song was so lovely that the children unhesitatingly followed the bird as it flew among the trees . The bird led the children to a clearing and in the middle of it was the most amazing cottage. Its walls were of gingerbread and the roof was of cake and chocolate. Th windows and the front door was of sugar and sweets decorated them.

Hansel and Gretel were so hungry that they raced to the cottage. Hansel broke a piece from one of the gingerbread walls and Gretel brok a piece of cake from the roof. Soon, they were munching away.

Suddenly, the cottage door opened and a little, old lady stepped out. Hansel and Gretel were terrified and tried to run away but the lady stopped them.

“Don’t be frightened “ she said. “Do come in and make yourselves at home”.

The children went in. There was a table laden with good food and the lady told Hansel and Gretel to eat as much as they could. The hungry children loaded their plates and ate and drank till they could not eat another crumb. Then, the lady took them to another room with two beds and told Hansel and Gretel to sleep. Relieved to be safe and tired out the two children fell asleep no sooner their heads touched the pillows.

Sadly, everything changed the next morning. The sweet, old lady was really a witch who gobbled up children.

The witch woke Hansel and Gretel roughly. She quickly pushed Hansel into a large, wicker cage and locked it before Hansel could do anything. Terrified, Gretel wept bitterly. “Stop your crying” the witch told Gretel sharply.” Make something nice for your brother to eat. I want him nicely fattened up for me to eat him.”

Poor Gretel not only had to cook but she had to do all the housework as well.

Every day, the witch made Hansel put his finger through the bars of the cage for her to feel it to see if he was getting fat. But clever Hansel tricked the witch. Instead of his finger, he put a small bone through the bars for the witch to feel.

The witch could not see well and so, she never realised the difference.

After some days the witch grew tired of waiting for Hansel to get fat and decided to eat him the next day. Early next morning she made Gretel put a huge cauldron of water to boil.“ I am going to cook Hansel and eat him “ she told poor Gretel who promptly started sobbing.“ I will eat some bread too” said the witch. I have left the dough to rise. The witch pushed Gretel towards the door of the oven saying“ see if the oven is hot enough to put the bread in”.

Actually, the witch wanted to bake and eat Gretel as well. Gretel knew this and she thought of a plan to fool the witch.

‘How can I get into the oven, I am too big” said Gretel to the witch. “You silly goose” said the witch angrily. See, even I can get in”. So saying, the witch poked herself half way into the oven. From behind Gretel gave her a mighty shove which sent her tumbling into the hot oven.

Quick as lightning Gretel slammed the oven door shut. Then, she quickly set Hansel free. The children hugged each other and danced for joy.

They decided to set off for home and took as much as they could of the witch’s treasures such as pearls, precious stones and gold and silver.

Back in the woods, kind birds and animals guided Hansel and Gretel to their home. Their father was overjoyed to see his precious children. He had been very unhappy at having to had left them in the wood. He was alone as the children’s step mother had died. The witch’s treasure solved the woodcutter’s money problems and he and Hansel and Gretel lived happily everafter.

Source: Internet