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Hansel and Gretel

Grimm's tale - Short version
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Temps de lecture : 5 minutes

In a cottage near the forest lived a woodcutter with his two children, who were called Hansel and Gretel. His wife had died when they were born, and he had remarried a few years later. But his new wife was mean and selfish and didn’t like children.

Times were hard and they were no longer earning money. One night the stepmother said to her husband:

– There is not enough money to feed us all. The children must leave and fend for themselves. Tomorrow you are going to take them to the forest and abandon them.

The father protested. But his wife insisted, so much so, that he finally gave in.

Hansel, who was in the next room, heard everything.

The next day, they all set out, under the pretext of collecting wood in the forest. They walked so much that when they stopped, the children fell asleep. And when they woke up, the parents were gone and they were alone. It was getting dark and the cries of the wolves could be heard in the distance.

Hansel and Gretel trembled with fear, but the boy tried to reassure his sister by saying:

– Don’t worry Gretel, last night I heard that our stepmother wanted to lose us, and I sowed breadcrumbs throughout the day, to find our way back home.

But no matter how hard they looked for the breadcrumbs, they couldn’t find any, because the birds had eaten them all!



Desperate, they began to walk among the trees and could hardly see anything in the dark night. They shivered with cold, hunger and fear.

Just as they had lost all hope, they suddenly saw a beautiful little house in a clearing in the forest. But they were surprised to discover that it was made entirely of candy. The roof was made of chocolate, decorated with colorful candies, and the doors and windows were made of caramel. There was a small garden covered with sugar flowers, lollipop trees, and strawberry syrup flowing from the fountain.

Stunned, the children approached and began to eat everything in front of them.

After a while, a wrinkled old woman came out of the house and greeted them kindly.

– I see you are lost and hungry, my little ones! she said. Come in, don’t just stand there! In my house you will be safe and have all the sweets you want.




The children, happy and confident, entered the house without suspecting that they were dealing with a wicked witch who had built a house of chocolate and candy to lure the children and eat them!

Once inside, she locked the door, took Hansel and locked him in a cage. Gretel, terrified, began to cry.

– You, little one, stop whining! From now on, you will be my servant and you will have to cook for your brother. I want him to get very fat and in a few weeks I will eat him. If you don’t obey, you will suffer the same fate.

The poor little girl had to obey. Every day, she reluctantly brought food, desserts and sweets to her brother Hansel. In the evening, the witch came to the cell to see if the boy had gained weight.

– Put your hand through the grate,” she would tell him, “to see if his arm had grown.

Hansel had put on weight, because he couldn’t resist so many good things, but to fool the witch, he put a chicken bone through the bars instead of his finger. The witch, who was almost blind, thought that Hansel was not getting fat. For weeks he managed to fool her, but one day the wicked woman had enough.

– Your brother isn’t gaining weight, and I’m tired of waiting! She said to Gretel. “Get the oven ready, I’m going to eat it today.”

Gretel, despite her fear, came up with a ploy and told her that she didn’t know how to light the fire. So the witch approached the oven.

– You are useless! she complained as she crouched in front of the oven, “I’ll have to do it myself!”

So when the fire began to get very hot, Gretel took her courage in both hands, and pushed the witch into the oven, closing the door behind her. The witch died in a few moments. Gretel took the keys to the cage and freed her brother.

Free and safe, the two children explored the house and found a drawer containing gold coins, jewels and gems. They stuffed their pockets with them, grabbed some food and candy and ran away.

They went back into the forest and finally found their way home, guided by the sun and the birds.

In the distance, they saw their father sitting in the garden, crying. When he saw them in the distance, he ran to embrace them tenderly. He asked for their forgiveness and told them that he had sent his bad wife away.

Hansel and Gretel forgave him and showed him the treasures they had brought and they were never hungry again.

Adaptation of the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale. Illustrations by Adrian Ludwig Richter, Arthur Rackham, Theodor Hosemann and Alexander Zick


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22 Jan 2023

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