Select the desired text size
Hansel and Gretel
Now witches have red eyes, and cannot see far, but, like beasts, they have a keen sense of smell, and know
when human beings pass by. When Hansel and Gretel fell into her hands she laughed maliciously, and said
jeeringly: "I've got them now; they sha'n't escape me." Early in the morning, before the children were awake,
she rose up, and when she saw them both sleeping so peacefully, with their round rosy cheeks, she muttered
to herself: "That'll be a dainty bite." Then she seized Hansel with her bony hand and carried him into a little
stable, and barred the door on him; he might scream as much as he liked, it did him no good. Then she went to
Gretel, shook her till she awoke, and cried: "Get up, you lazy-bones, fetch water and cook something for your
brother. When he's fat I'll eat him up." Gretel began to cry bitterly, but it was of no use; she had to do what the
wicked witch bade her.
So the best food was cooked for poor Hansel, but Gretel got nothing but crab-shells. Every morning the old
woman hobbled out to the stable and cried: "Hansel, put out your finger, that I may feel if you are getting fat."
But Hansel always stretched out a bone, and the old dame, whose eyes were dim, couldn't see it, and thinking
always it was Hansel's finger, wondered why he fattened so slowly.
When four weeks had passed and Hansel still remained thin, she lost patience and determined to wait no
longer. "Hi, Gretel," she called to the girl, act quick and get some water. Hansel may be fat or thin, I'm going
to kill him tomorrow and cook him." Oh! how the poor little sister sobbed as she carried the water, and how
the tears rolled down her cheeks! "Kind heaven help us now!" she cried; "if only the wild beasts in the wood
had eaten us, then at least we should have died together." "Just hold your peace," said the old hag; "it won't
Early in the morning Gretel had to go out and hang up the kettle full of water, and light the fire. "First we'll bake,"
said the old dame; "I've heated the oven already and kneaded the dough." She pushed Gretel out to the oven,
from which fiery flames were already issuing. "Creep in," said the witch, "and see if it's properly heated, so that
we can shove in the bread." For when she had got Gretel in she meant to close the oven and let the girl bake,
that she might eat her up too. But Gretel perceived her intention, and said: "I don't know how I'm to do it; how
do I get in?"