Long ago there lived a little brother and sister, whose names were Hansel and Gretel. They lived with their father and stepmother in a tiny cottage at the edge of a forest. Hansel and Gretel’s father was a woodcutter. He used to chop trees in the forest. He didn’t earn very much money from his work. So the family had very little to eat. Hansel and Gretel’s stepmother did not like the children. She thought they ate too much. and that caring for them was too much work. One night, she complained to Hansel and Gretel’s father. I am fed up with your children. You need to leave them in the woods. I can’t do that! They are my children! Of course you can! I’ll show you how! Tomorrow at dawn, we’ll take them into the forest and leave them there! Hansel was still awake. And he heard everything his stepmother had said. Later that night, Hansel snuck out of the house and picked up some shiny white pebbles that were sparkling in the dark. At dawn the next day, Hansel and Gretel’s stepmother called out to them. Your father and I are going to the forest to chop wood. You children are coming with us. Here’s a loaf of bread in case you get hungry. As they walked into the forest, Hansel secretly dropped the pebbles he had to mark the path. When they arrived deep in the heart of the forest, the children’s father and stepmother split off to chop some wood. We are going to chop wood. You two must wait here till we return. Yes, mother! The kids spent the whole day alone in the forest. As night approached, Hansel and Gretel’s father and stepmother had not returned. Hansel, I’m starting to get really scared. When are mother and father going to come back to take us home? I don’t think they’re coming back, Gretel. But you don’t have to worry. I’ll get us home. The pebbles Hansel had dropped on the ground were sparkling in the dark. And the kids were able to follow them all the way back to their house. Their father was delighted to see them. Hansel and Gretel! Thank goodness you are safe! I am sorry! I’ll never leave you alone again. A few days later, Hansel and Gretel’s father went to the town to repair his axe. And Hansel and Gretel were left alone in the house with their stepmother. Hmm! Now that their father is far away. This is the perfect time for me to get rid of those brats. The evil stepmother ordered the children out of the house. Come on, you. We are going to have a picnic in the forest. A picnic? Now? Hansel didn’t trust his stepmother. He secretly snatched a loaf of bread and hid it away. As they walked into the forest Hansel dropped breadcrumbs on the ground behind him. Once they were deep inside the forest, their stepmother looked at them harshly and said You two wait here! I’ll come back in a little while. The children waited. But their stepmother didn’t come back. It grew dark and Gretel again started to feel very afraid. Hansel, let’s go home. I’m scared. We need to wait until morning, Gretel. I left a trail of breadcrumbs but we won’t be able to see them until morning when it’s brighter. When the sun rose, Hansel and Gretel went looking for the breadcrumbs. But they couldn’t find them anywhere. Oh no! The birds and the mice must have eaten the breadcrumbs! How will we go home now? Hansel and Gretel walked and walked through the forest. Hoping to find someone who could help them. After some time, Hansel and Gretel came across a marvellous house. It was made of gingerbread and decorated with chocolates, gumdrops and a bunch of other sweets. Look at that house, Hansel! It’s made of our favorite sweets! Mmm! It looks so yummy! The two children were so hungry that they broke off big pieces of the house and started eating them. An old woman came out of the house. She smiled when she saw Hansel and Gretel. You poor children. You must be very hungry. Come in. I’ll give you some hot milk to drink. Hansel and Gretel went into the old woman’s house, where she fed them very nicely Drink as much as you like, children. Don’t be shy. There’s plenty. When Hansel and Gretel had finished, they told the old woman that they wanted to go home. Thank you for feeding us. Can you tell us how we can go home now? The old woman laughed Home? Never! You two are staying here! So that I can eat you up! Huh? Poor Hansel and Gretel! The old woman had trapped them. By the time the children realized that the old woman, was a child-eating witch, who had built a house of sweets to trap them. It was too late. The old witch locked Hansel up in a cage. You stay here boy, until you are plump enough for me to eat. The witch then turned to Gretel. You my dear, work for me now! She made Gretel cook, and clean, and wash and scrub In the mornings, the old witch would check to see if Hansel was plump enough to eat. Show me your finger, Hansel. Let’s see how plump you are. Knowing the old witch didn’t see well, Hansel would trick her by holding out a chicken bone. Aagh! You are still too skinny. One morning, the witch was feeling very hungry. Angrily, she called out to Gretel. Gretel, today I am going to eat Hansel for breakfast. Fill up the big pot with boiling water. I will make a nice Hansel soup. Poor Gretel! She didn’t know what to do. She knew she had to save Hansel and so thought of a plan as she was putting the pot of water to boil. After some time, the old witch came to see if the water in the pot was boiling. Is the water boiling yet? I’m ready to eat. Uh, I’m not sure. I can’t see inside the pot. It’s too high for me. The witch was so eager to eat Hansel that she climbed up on the stove and peeped inside the pot. Clever little Gretel, then pushed the old witch into the pot with all her might. The old witch fell into the boiling water, and Gretel closed the lid. She then unlocked the cage and let Hansel out. The old witch is gone, Hansel. We can go home now. Hooray! Not only was the witch gone, but Hansel and Gretel found a pot full of gold coins in the witch’s house. We’ll be able to buy plenty of food with this. After walking for a very long time, Hansel and Gretel finally found their way out of the forest. When they reached home, their father was waiting for them. Children! I’m so happy to see you. Thank goodness you’ve come back. I’ve kicked your stepmother out of the house. She will never bother us again. Hansel and Gretel showed their father the gold coins they had found. He was delighted! The three of them were never short of money again. And they all lived happily ever after.