Hansel and Gretel
In a small neighborhood near a vast forest lived a humble carpenter with his wife and two kids. The children, a boy named Hansel and a girl named Gretel, lived simply due to their family’s meager income. During a time of economic downturn, the family struggled to even afford daily meals. The man, plagued with worry, confided in his wife one night, expressing his fears about their children’s survival. His wife, a rather uncaring stepmother to the children, suggested they leave the kids in the forest with a bit of food and some water. She argued that by doing so, they might have a fighting chance, ensuring they wouldn’t have to watch them starve at home. The idea horrified the father, but eventually, he agreed to the heart-wrenching plan, soothed by the false notion that the children would be better off.
Unbeknownst to the parents, Hansel and Gretel had overheard their conversation and were scared about their pending fate. Hansel, always the protective older brother, comforted Gretel and assured her that he had a plan. As night fell and their parents slept, Hansel snuck out of the house under the bright moonlight and filled his pockets with tiny, glowing pebbles from their garden. His plan was to leave a trail so they could find their way back home.
The next morning, the stepmother woke the kids up early, gave them each a small piece of bread and some water, and the whole family ventured into the forest. Hansel quietly dropped the glowing pebbles along their winding path. When they reached the heart of the forest, the parents built a small fire for the children and told them to rest while they went to collect firewood. They walked away, leaving Hansel and Gretel alone.
With the fire flickering beside them, the two children eventually dozed off, tired and hungry. When they woke up, it was night, and their parents were nowhere in sight. With the glowing pebbles illuminated by the moonlight, Hansel led Gretel back home. Their arrival shocked their parents, particularly their stepmother.
Not long afterward, the family faced deprivation once more. Their stepmother devised the same cruel plan, only this time, she locked their door at night, preventing Hansel from collecting the glowing pebbles. Feeling hopeless, Gretel began crying, but Hansel, as always, reassured her that everything would be alright.
The next day, the stepmother led them deeper into the forest. As they walked, Hansel crumbled his piece of bread and left a trail of crumbs. However, by the time they woke up after being left alone again, the crumbs had been eaten by birds, and there was no trail to follow back home. Lost and scared, they wandered around the forest for three days, surviving only on a few berries they found.
On the third day, they followed a beautiful white bird to a house made of candy, with windows of clear sugar. Overjoyed with their finding, they began eating parts of the house. An old woman appeared, who was kind to them at first, but she was actually a wicked witch who lured children to her candy house to eat them.
The witch locked Hansel in a cage to fatten him up and ordered Gretel to cook for him. Each morning, she would check to see if Hansel was fat enough to eat. Hansel, however, tricked her by sticking out an old bone instead of his finger. After weeks of waiting, the impatient witch decided to eat him regardless, and she prepared the oven.
While doing so, the witch asked Gretel to check if the oven was hot enough. Sensing the danger, Gretel asked her how to check, and the witch, frustrated, went forward to show her. With a swift push, Gretel shoved the witch into the oven, bolted the door, and freed Hansel from the cage.
Relieved and joyful, the kids explored the witch’s house, where they found chests full of pearls and precious jewels. They filled their pockets with them and began their journey home. When they reached a stream, a white duck helped them cross one by one. They soon found their way back to their father’s house.
Their father was overjoyed to see them, as he had been filled with regret and sorrow ever since they were left in the forest. His ill-natured wife had since passed away, and with the gems and pearls that Hansel and Gretel brought back, they lived comfortably and never went hungry again.