Hansel and Gretel ~ Bedtime Stories for Kids
Once upon a time a brother and sister lived in the woods with their father, a poor woodcutter, and their stepmother. The stepmother made life very hard for Hansel and Gretel, the two children. They were not allowed to eat until after the stepmother had first taken all she wanted off the plates. Most of the time, there was only a crust of bread left.
Hansel and Gretel tried to tell their father they were hungry, but he would not hear of it. It seemed the only one he would listen to was his wife. And all the stepmother talked about was how much trouble it was to have children in the hut and how much she wished they would go away forever.
Each day there was less and less food for the boy and girl to eat. Yet the stepmother gave them more and more work to do. One day Gretel begged, “Please, father, stepmother! All day long we work hard doing our chores and we’re hungry!” But the stepmother only slapped her on the face. She yelled, “You ungrateful brats! You will eat us out of house and home!”
That night the two children had to sleep outside. They shivered in the cold and tried to keep each other warm. Winter was coming. The clothes they wore were so thin it was almost as if they had no clothes at all.
The next morning when the sun rose, Gretel turned to her little brother, who was also awake. “Hansel,” she said, “we cannot stay here. We must escape now, today, into the woods. Surely we will find more to eat out there than we get at home.”
“Do you think so?” Hansel said. He closed his eyes. Then he said, “What if we get lost?”
“We won’t,” said Gretel. “I will take some bread. We will drop breadcrumbs behind us. That way, if we have to, we can follow the crumbs back home.”
And so the two of them left their hard life behind.
They went deeper and deeper into the woods. Gretel was careful to drop one crumb and then another.