Hansel and Gretel
"Hansel and Gretel" (
The story is set in medieval
The next day, the family walk deep into the woods and Hansel lays a trail of white pebbles. After their parents abandon them, Hansel and Gretel follow the trail back home. When their mother sees them she is furious and locks them in the house. Hansel and Gretel are unable to escape or even simply collect pebbles.
The following morning, the family treks into the woods. Hansel takes a slice of bread and leaves a trail of bread crumbs for them to follow home. However, after they are once again abandoned, they find that birds have eaten the crumbs and they are lost in the woods. After days of wandering, they follow a beautiful white bird to a clearing in the woods, and discover a large cottage built of gingerbread, cakes, candy and with window panes of clear sugar. Hungry and tired, the children begin to eat the rooftop of the house, when the door opens and a hideous old hag emerges and lures the children inside, with the promise of soft beds and delicious food and a hot bath. They do this unaware that their hostess is a bloodthirsty witch who waylays children to cook and eat them.
The next morning, the witch cleans out the cage in the garden from her previous captive. Then she throws Hansel into the cage and forces Gretel into becoming her slave. The witch feeds Hansel regularly to fatten him up. Hansel realizes this and uses the witch's tendency to his advantage. Every time the witch checks how fat Hansel is, by way of seeing Hansel's finger, he sticks out a bone he finds in the cage. Due to the witch's
The next day, the witch prepares the oven for Hansel, but decides she is hungry enough to eat Gretel too. She coaxes Gretel to the open oven and prods her to lean over in front of it to see if the fire is hot enough. Gretel, sensing the witch's intent, pretends she does not understand what she means. Infuriated, the witch demonstrates, and Gretel pushes her into the oven. She bolts the door shut, leaving "the ungodly creature to be burned to ashes", screaming in pain until she dies. Gretel frees Hansel from the cage and the pair discover a vase full of treasure and precious stones. Putting the jewels into their clothing, the children set off for home.
A duck ferries them across an expanse of water and at home they find only their father who revealed that their mother died from an unknown cause. Their father had spent all his days lamenting the loss of his children and is delighted to see them safe and sound. With the witch's wealth, they all live happily ever after.