January 25, 2022

#08-182: Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel meet the witch

Note: "Hansel and Gretel" is a German fairy tale collected by the German Brothers Grimm and published in 1812.

Get Ready: If you did not have enough money to feed your children, what could you do?

Once a poor woodcutter had two young children named Hansel and Gretel. When famine struck the land, their stepmother told the woodcutter to abandon his children in the woods, to save food. The woodcutter objected, but the woman told him it's not like they were killing the children: someone might find them and take them into their home.

So the woodcutter agreed. What the adults didn't know was that the children had heard the conversation, and made a plan: the night before they were to leave, Hansel went out and collected many white pebbles. The next day, as they walked into the woods, he dropped the pebbles along the way.

They followed the pebbles home, which enraged their stepmother. She told the woodcutter to take the children deeper into the woods--and she locked the front door to keep Hansel from going out to collect more pebbles.

This time, Hansel tore up a piece of bread and left the crumbs behind--but the birds ate them.

Luckily--or so they thought--after days of hunger, a beautiful white bird led the children to a cottage made of gingerbread, cookies, cakes, and candy, with windowpanes made of sheets of clear sugar. The hungry children began to break off pieces of the house and eat them immediately!

A very old woman came out and, instead of scolding them, invited the children in, where she promised them soft beds and delicious food. What they didn't know was that the woman was a witch, and the house was a trap!

The next morning, she locked Hansel in an iron cage in the garden and made Gretel work for her. She fed Hansel regularly to fatten him up, but gave Gretel almost nothing. Every time the witch asked to feel Hansel's finger, to see how fat he was, he stuck out a bone he had found, and she was too blind to know he was tricking her.

At last she decided to go ahead and cook and eat both children anyway, but when she leaned into the oven to see if it was hot enough, Gretel shoved the witch in and she was burned to ashes.

After Gretel freed Hansel, they discovered a vase full of treasure, and they took as much as they could carry. They set off for home, where they found their stepmother was dead, and their father was delighted to see them: he had grieved for them the whole time.


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hansel_and_Gretel

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. abandon
  2. ashes
  3. crumbs
  4. delighted
  5. enraged
  6. famine
  7. grieved
  8. or so they thought
  9. pebbles
  10. stepmother

  1. a time of food shortage
  2. the remains of something burned
  3. leave behind
  4. made very angry
  5. one's father's second wife
  6. been very sad
  7. very happy
  8. small stones
  9. that's what they mistakenly believed
  10. small pieces of bread

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for January 25, 2022

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. c; 2. b; 3. j; 4. g; 5. d; 6. a; 7. f; 8. i; 9. h; 10. e