Hansel and Gretel

Hansel Alpine Boy

Gretel Alpine Girl


Saul Swiss

This famous tale was first told in the 1300s, during the great famine of Europe.
Because there was nothing to eat, parents often abandoned their children, and
sometimes, incredibly, ate them.

Once upon a time there was a family of four: A hard-working father, a cruel step-
mother, a little boy called Hansel and his sister, Gretel. Because there was not
much food, the step-mother was determined to get rid of the children.

The vicious woman forced her weak husband to agree to her evil plan. She
screamed, “You must take your children deep into the forest and leave them there
forever!” Luckily, Hansel overheard the discussion and said to his sister, “I will
bring bright stones in my pocket and drop them along the path so we can find our
way home.” And, that’s exactly what happened!

When the children returned, their father was very happy. But, when the evil step-
mother saw them, she shrieked at her husband, “You loser! You can’t even lose
your children in the biggest, darkest forest in the world. Get your act together and
dump those kids!”

So, the father again took his children into the woods and again Hansel alerted his
sister. “I will drop breadcrumbs along the path so we can find our way home.”
Sadly, the breadcrumbs were eaten by the birds of the forest.
Hansel and Gretel got lost in the dark woods and got very hungry indeed. But
miraculously they found a lovely cottage made of gingerbread, cake and candy.
While the children were gobbling up pieces of the house, a horrible witch jumped

“Ah ha, my pretties!” she yelled. She grabbed each child by the arm and shoved
them into separate cages. For the next few days, she stuffed Hansel with food and
gave Gretel nothing but berry juice.

Every day the witch squeezed Hansel’s arms and legs to see if he was getting fat
enough to eat. Hansel got plumper and plumper, and Gretel got skinnier and
skinnier. The children understood the witch would allow Gretel to die of starvation
and she would eat Hansel.

After a week, the witch started a fire in her large fireplace, where she intended to
roast Hansel. While she was caring for the fire, Gretel, skinny as a pole, slipped out
of her cage, crept behind the witch and, although she was weakened, shoved the
witch as hard as she could right into the fire. Bye Bye Witch!

Gretel devoured some cookies and candy and then unlocked Hansel’s cage. The
two children found their way out of the forest and back home. When they arrived,
their father was all alone, sitting on a tree stump, with his face in his hands. He
was crying.

He heard the children and, barely believing his ears, looked up to see them
standing before him. “Oh, my darlings, he said. “I was so broken-hearted that you
didn’t return. I looked for you but could never find you. I told your step-mother to
leave and gave her what little money we had. She will never return!”

The children immediately forgave their father, for they knew he loved them. They
ran to him, embracing him and kissing him. The father met his children with open
arms and a contrite heart. And, the little family lived together in peace and