The Fairytale Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel Fairytale image

The best-known version of the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel was published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. 

Brothers Grimm?  But who were they?

Two brothers from Germany. The Brothers Grimm, otherwise known as Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm, were German librarians who also specialized in philology; the study of language in historical texts.  Between 1838 and 1863 the Grimm brothers led a collaborative research project to create a new kind of dictionary documenting the history of the German language in addition to being authors of a collection of over 200 best fairy tales!  Wow!  These dudes were smart huh?

Hansel and Gretel is a German Fairy tale popular amongst children all over the world.  We here at Family Roberto encourage families, daycare providers, homeschoolers, preschools, kindergarten through high school, kids camps, and more to enjoy our fairytales and stories.  There’s always a lesson to be learned with fairytales and fables. And this one has a big lesson about stranger danger.  We as parents and teachers want our kids to be safe right?  It’s important to explain to our kids that just because someone is offering something very sweet (like a great big candy house!), doesn’t mean they have good intentions.

Ruby, the narrator from Ruby’s Storytime retells this classic children’s story.

Let the storytime begin!

Once upon a time, a very long time ago there lived a father, his children, Hansel and Gretel, and their stepmother.  The family lived in a little cottage in the forest.  The children adored their father but their stepmother?  Not so much.  Nancy married the children’s father years after their dear mother had passed away.  Late one evening, while the children were in bed, Nancy was talking to Herman

“Herman, we aren’t making enough money to feed these dumb kids.  They are eating too much and Gretel is lazy and talks too much and Hansel doesn’t know how to do a darn thing around this house, we need to get rid of them once and for all.”

Herman was shocked the stepmother would be talking this way. “What a nasty thing to say, Nancy!  I love my children; they mean the world to me”

They might mean the world to you but unless you want us all to starve, you better do as I say.  If you don’t, I will leave you and I will burn the house down so you and your kids will have nothing.

Nancy began telling him how they were going to carry through with this terrible plan.

“Tomorrow morning, when Hansel and Gretel wake up, we will tell them we are going for a hike in the forest, we will walk deep into the woods.  We will build a fire and give them one last piece of bread.  While they are eating, we will tell them we are going to get some water from the river but instead, we will leave the children in the forest all alone so they can’t find their way back home, and then my darling, we will be free”.

The father agreed with Nancy.  “ok, we will do as you wish my dear, hopefully, Hansel and Gretel can live on their own and find happiness elsewhere”.

Guess what?

Hansel and Gretel were unable to sleep that night and overheard their frightful plan.

“Hansel, I can’t believe that father and stepmother are going to be so cruel”, cried Gretel.

“There there little sister, don’t cry.  I will somehow find a way to save us from their dreadful plan.  Please now, let’s try to get some sleep and pray for our safekeeping”

Hansel and Gretel went to bed and finally drifted off to sleep.

“Let’s go kids, we are going for a beautiful hike in the woods, we have some fresh bread to give you as a treat when we take a rest in the forest”, said the stepmother, and off they went, into the forest.

Hours passed and little Gretel was exhausted “father, please. I can’t go any further, my legs hurt and I am very thirsty”

Oh yes, of course, said Nancy.  The children need to rest.  Why don’t you kids stay here and rest and I and your father will go get you some water from the river.  Here, take some fresh bread and relax for a little while, right Herman? Asked Nancy.

“yes, yes, let’s go get the children some water,” said the father and the two walked off away from the kids forever.

Hansel and Gretel relaxed under a tree and ate their bread.  They knew they were alone in the forest and their father and stepmother were not coming back.

That’s so sad… Continue reading though!

“Gretel, don’t be afraid.  It will be dark soon and that’s ok.  I am using my brain and thinking of everything I can to save us from harm.  We will make our way in this world, together.   I am your big brother and I will take care of you, I promise” said Hansel.

Gretel felt so comforted by the words of her brother when Hansel promised something, he always kept his word.

So, the two children walked throughout the night and all the next day.  They were nowhere near home and they were very very tired.  They saw what looked like a house several miles away.  “Let’s keep walking Gretel, there may be someone in the house up yonder that can help us”.

After a whole night and the following day walking, they were shocked at what they saw!!  There stood a beautiful gingerbread house, with candy cane windows and chocolate bars of every kind all on this house.  Frosting and candy treats were shining on the door, it was a delicious sight!!!

Hansel and Gretel started nibbling on the house!  I don’t blame them, they were starving, and….who doesn’t like candy? Right?

All of the sudden, the door of the house opened and a very old woman, leaning on a crutch opened the door to welcome them in.  “Oh, you poor little children, you look exhausted and filthy, you need a warm bed, cookies and milk, and a hot bubble bath,” said the old woman sweetly.  She led them into the house and fed them and gave them warm beds to sleep in.

The children were safe!!!! Right?

Not quite yet.  The old woman was actually a wicked old witch.  She was as evil and nasty as your worst nightmare.  She actually built that gingerbread house made of candy to tempt the children to come in.  Her evil plan was to fatten them up with all kinds of foods, then cook them in the oven and have them for her supper!!!  Ugh, the nerve of that nasty woman!

The children woke up the next morning to a terrifying sight.  The wicked old witch grabbed Hansel and carried him away to an old cage with a locking door!  Then the old hag made Gretel cook and clean all day and all night. “ You are going to fatten your brother up and when he’s fat enough, I’m going to eat him!” Poor Poor Gretel, she was so upset but she remembered her brothers’ words “don’t worry little sister, I’m going to use my brain, I am thinking of everything I can do to save us from harm and I will take care of you, I promise”.

Every morning, the old witch would come over to the cage, she was so old, she couldn’t see hardly at all, but she could sure smell.  “Hansel, stick out your finger so I can see how fat you’ve grown.  If you feel fat enough, I am going to eat you!”  Hansel was a bright boy and he realized she was as blind as a bat, so he stuck out a little stick that he found in his cage.  “here ya go, here’s my finger Mrs. Nasty witch,”  The witch grabbed what she thought was his finger but it was really a skinny little stick.  This infuriated the old hag!!    I don’t care if your thin or fat, I’m going to eat you up for my supper tonight!  Gretel, go get the key and unlock this cage”

Gretel hurried to get the key as she thought this would be the perfect time for the two children to try to escape this evil witch.

She unlocked the door and…

Hansel came walking out. “Now the time has come for you both to be my supper, get in the oven, Now!” screamed the old hag.

Gretel may be small, but she was a very smart girl.  “ Mrs., witch, I am just a little girl and I don’t understand how to get in the oven.

“you dumb fool! it’s simple, even an old woman like me can climb in” screamed the witch, and with that…..

She waddled into the oven, leaned into it, and with all her might, Gretel gave the witch a mighty shove, sending the old hag right into the fire once and for all!

Hansel and Gretel hugged each other and shouted “ we are safe!  We have used our brains and now we are safe!!!  The wicked old witch is finally gone!  Before leaving the gingerbread house, they entered inside one last time to have a bite of candy, and wouldn’t you know it, behind a chair, there was a treasure chest filled with gold coins!  “Gretel we can finally go home to father and give him the gold coins and he won’t have to worry about feeding us as we will have plenty of money to take care of all of us! said, Hansel.

The two walked and walked through the forest with golden coins in their pockets and off in the distance, they spotted the house that they lived in.  They finally arrived home and knocked on the door (knock knock knock)  The father answered the door and was so surprised and happy to see his children as he never wanted harm to come to them.

“Father, we are here and we are safe and we also have gold coins so you will have enough money to feed us all and we can live happily ever after” cried Gretel.

Finally…

The father explained to the children how the stepmother threatened him if he didn’t follow her plan. “I always knew you two were very smart and you know how to use your brains, I knew you were going to be ok, I knew you were going to be safe”.  He also told the children that the stepmother died a few days ago from a “black heart”.  The father and his children truly lived out the rest of their lives together, away from harm. Plus, they had plenty of food and love for each other.

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