The gingerbread house

Once upon a time, poverty reigned everywhere in the world, even in the small house by the forest where a man lived with his children, Hansel und Gretel. Together with them lived his second wife, a stepmother who didn’t like the children very much.

She was constantly nagging that she herself had little, let alone feed two hungry mouths. So long did she nag her husband to take them into the woods and leave them there, until he obeyed.

So one day he went into the woods with the children, and gave Hansel a piece of bread in his handkerchief for the journey. He looked worried, and Hansel did not feel good about it. So he broke off the bread crumbs and discreetly threw them around to mark the way they were going. But dad led them further and further, to places they had never been. After a long time they came to a clearing, and dad said he would look around to see if there were any mushrooms or berries growing there, and let them rest for the time being. Hansel and Gretel waited and waited, but dad did not return, and soon it would be dark. Gretel wept:

Bajke za laku noć - The gingerbread house
The gingerbread house

“Now we will never find our way home and we will be lost.” But Hansel comforted her, “Don’t cry, Gretel, we won’t be lost, I was throwing bread crumbs on the way. If we go after them, we will return home.”

So they wanted to follow the path of crumbs, but alas – there were none, the birds had eaten them. The children were hungry and had no idea which way to go, and darkness was slowly falling.

 “Wait, Hansel, I’ll climb a tree and look around to see if I can see a light somewhere,” said Gretel, and climbed up a tall tree. And indeed – she saw a light in the distance. 

She climbed down from the tree and ran with Hansel in that direction. Soon they came upon a little cottage. But not just any cottage, it was made entirely of gingerbread! The hungry Hansel immediately snatched a piece of gingerbread, even though Gretel told him not to do so.

Suddenly an old witch came running out of the cottage. “Who’s peeling my gingerbread?” she asked in a screeching voice. Hansel  whispered softly, “It’s nothing, it’s just a little wind that stole the gingerbread.” So the witch returned to the cottage. But as soon as Hansel stole another piece, she ran out again. Hansel and Gretel crouched down so she wouldn’t notice them. Unfortunately, the witch saw them, grabbed them and dragged them into the cottage. There, she locked them in a cage and gave them a big bunch of gingerbread every day. She wanted to fatten them up properly and then eat them!

When Hansel and Gretel were chubby enough, the witch decided to eat Hansel first. She fired up the oven and ordered Gretel to check if it was hot enough. Fortunately, Gretel was a clever little girl and decided to outwit the witch:

“But I don’t know how to tell if the oven is hot. I’m still a little girl and I’ve never baked anything,” Gretel pretended to be clueless. 

The witch just rolled her eyes and stuck her snoot into the oven to see for herself. Gretel didn’t hesitate and pushed the witch into the oven and immediately closed the door behind her. Then she grabbed Hansel and they ran out of the gingerbread house like lightning.

They ran and ran, never looking back. And suddenly, out of the blue, their daddy appeared! While the children were staying at the witch’s house, the wicked stepmother ran away from their father and he, all unhappy, searched for the children in the forest every day. And so, while the witch was roasting in the oven, daddy, Hansel and Gretel went home, where they’ve lived happily together to this day.

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