A humble woodcutter lived with his two children and his new wife in a forest on the outskirts of town. The boy was named Hansel and the girl, Gretel. Every day the woodcutter worked tirelessly. However, there came a time when he was not enough to support his family. Concerned, the woodcutter told his wife one night:
“I don’t have enough to buy bread and butter, what will I do to feed ourselves and the children?”
“This is what we will do,” answered the woman, “tomorrow morning, I will take Hansel and Gretel to the entrance of the village and leave them there; a wealthy family will take pity on them and they will live a very comfortable and happy life. So we just have to worry about ourselves.
“I will never allow it,” the man said. How do you think I can abandon my children?
“You must,” the woman refuted. If you don’t, we’re all going to be hungry.
The two children, unable to sleep from hunger, had overheard the conversation. Crying, Gretel told her brother:
“Hansel, I can’t believe what we’ve heard.
“Don’t worry, Gretel,” Hansel answered calmly. I have an idea.
At dawn, the wicked woman woke up her two stepsons screaming:
“Get up now, don’t be lazy!” We go to the market to buy food.
Then, he gave the little ones a piece of bread and said:
—This is lunch; do not eat it right away, because there is no more.
Gretel put the bread in her apron. Hansel put his in his coat pocket and secretly shredded it, with every step he took, throwing the breadcrumbs on the way.
“Wait for me here,” said the stepmother when they were in the middle of the forest, “I’ll be right back.”
However, hours passed without the woman being heard from again. So great was his wickedness that he had abandoned them without bothering to leave them in the village.
Hansel and Gretel sat in the dark and shared Gretel’s piece of bread. Soon, the two children fell asleep. When they woke up in the middle of the night, Gretel started crying and said:
“How will we find our way home?”
Hansel consoled her saying:
“Wait for the moon to come up, then we’ll follow my breadcrumb trail home.” However, when the moon came out they could not continue on their way because the birds of the forest had eaten the crumbs. The two little ones were lost in the woods.
After many days and nights of wandering in the woods, the children found a little house that was made of gingerbread.
-Let’s eat! Hansel said, nibbling on the ceiling while Gretel tried part of the window.
Suddenly the door opened and an old woman limped out leaning on a cane. Hansel and Gretel were so scared that they dropped the pieces of ginger they had been eating. The old woman smiled very kindly and said:
—I am a very lonely old lady, I feel very happy to see you.
The old woman led them into her house, cooking them a wonderful dinner. Then he took them to two cute little beds, and Hansel and Gretel slept comfortably. But the kind old lady was actually a witch who used her house to trap children and turn them into gingerbread men.
Early in the morning, the witch locked Hansel in a cage while he slept. Then he woke up Gretel and said:
“Get up lazy, and help me get the oven ready.” I’m going to turn your brother into a gingerbread man!
Gretel wept upon hearing the witch’s words, but she had no choice but to do as she was told. When the girl lit the fire in the oven, the witch gave her a new order:
“Go inside and see if the oven is hot enough.”
The moment Gretel was inside, the witch intended to close the oven and turn the poor girl into a gingerbread doll. But Gretel knew the cruel intentions of the witch and replied:
— I don’t know what to do, how do I get into the oven?
“The door is big enough, watch me come in,” answered the witch, very annoyed.
Then, he opened the door of the magical oven and stepped inside. Gretel instantly closed the door. Once inside the oven, the witch turned into a gingerbread doll!
Gretel freed Hansel from his prison. On the way out of the witch’s house, Hansel tripped over a trunk full of jewels. The two children filled their pockets with gold, pearls, and diamonds. Happy, they walked through the forest until they saw their father in the distance.
The anguished man hugged his children tightly, every day he went out to look for them. Such was his sorrow that he never wanted to hear from his wicked wife again. Hansel took out the jewels from his pockets, and said excitedly:
“Look Dad, you’ll never have to chop wood again.”
Thus, this little family lived happily ever after.