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This story is suitable for children age 6 to 8 approx.

Hansel and Gretel

Many thanks to Storynory.com for the use of this text.

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Once upon a time there dwelt on the outskirts of a large forest a poor woodcutter with his wife and two children; the boy was called Hansel and the girl Gretel. He had always little enough to live on, and once, when times were bad, they had to get by with one piece of bread and butter each. One night, as he was tossing about in bed, full of cares and worry, he sighed and said to his wife: "What's to become of us? how are we to feed our poor children, now that we have nothing more for ourselves?" "I'll tell you what, husband," answered the woman; " Early tomorrow morning we'll take the children out into the thickest part of the wood; there we shall light a fire for them and give them each a piece of bread; then we'll go on to our work and leave them alone. They won't be able to find their way home, and we shall be rid of them." "No, wife," said her husband, "That I won't do; how could I find it in my heart to leave my children alone in the wood? The wild beasts would soon come and tear them to pieces." "Oh! you fool," said she, "Then we must all four die of hunger, and you may just as well go and saw the boards for our coffins"; and they argued and argued, until he agreed that they must get rid of Hansel and Gretel. "But I can't help feeling sorry for the poor children," added the husband.



The children, too, had not been able to sleep for hunger, and had heard what their stepmother had said to their father. Gretel wept bitterly and spoke to Hansel: "Now it's all up with us." "No, no, Gretel," said Hansel, "Don't fret yourself; I'll be able to find a way to escape, no fear." And when the old people had fallen asleep he got up, slipped on his little coat, opened the back door and stole out. The moon was shining clearly, and the white pebbles which lay in front of the house glittered like bits of silver. Hansel bent down and filled his pocket with as many of them as he could cram in. Then he went back and said to Gretel: "Be comforted, my dear little sister, and go to sleep: God will not desert us."; and he lay down in bed again. At daybreak, even before the sun was up, the woman came and woke the two children: "Get up, you lie-abeds, we're all going to the forest to fetch wood." She gave them each a bit of bread and said: "There's something for your luncheon, but don't you eat it up before, for it's all you'll get." Gretel took the bread under her apron, as Hansel had the stones in his pocket. Then they all set out together on the way to the forest.

       



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