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“Hansel and Gretal” from The Grimms Fairytales 

Region: Western EuropeGermany

Authors: Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm 

Original Language: German

Translators: Edgar Taylor and Marian Edwardes 

Characters: Hansel, Gretal, Witch, Mother, Father

Genre: Fairytales

Descriptors:  bakers; children; deception; hunger; survival; witches 

Age: 8+ years old


In this classic tale, Hansel and Gretal are the son and daughter of a baker who have come upon hard times and do not have enough food to feed the whole family. The mother devises a survival plan for herself and her husband, which entails taking the children so deep into the woods that they will be lost and never find their way home again. The baker does not like the idea but gives into his wife’s persistence. Hansel and Gretal, lying awake of hunger, hear what the mother is plotting, and Hansel comes up with a clever strategy. He collects white rocks and drops them along the way through the woods, and when the moonlight comes out, the rocks shine and light the way home. The baker and his wife try again, taking the kids deeper into the woods this time. Hansel uses his one piece of bread to leave crumbs to mark the path, but the birds eat them up, and the children get lost. Hungry and lost in the woods, they fall into the witch’s trap, lured by the witch’s house made out of cake. The evil witch plans to fatten the kids and eat them up! Read “Hansel and Gretal” to discover the clever schemes that the brother and sister use to get out of the pickle!  Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were born in the 1700s in Germany. They were both librarians and collected oral folktales across Germany and adjacent lands, transforming them  into fairy tales. The tales were originally intended for adults rather than children.  

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