Hansel and Gretel: The Untold Tale of the Witch

There once was a most wicked witch who abided in the depths of a very large wood. Here in the solitude of the forest she would lure children to her tantalizing house of bread and cakes and there, in the fires of the oven, she would bake them. Slowly roasting that tender child-flesh that witches so peversely crave. Now, witches have rather poor sight, their eyes are a bloody crimson red of course, and as a compensation they have a quite remarkable sense of smell. On the fairer days, when the breeze blew in just the right place she could catch their scent, heavy on the wind. That is the smell of the two children that lived up a way, on the side of a hill in a small cottage with their father and his wife.

The witch had kept a close watch on those children, a brother and sister by the names of Hansel and Gretel, and had waited patiently, yet anxiously, for them to ripen. To tear the children away from their happy home, she spent years causing dissention between the father and his wife. Spreading lies of hardship and tight economic times. The witch instilled a hatred, the cruelest kind of jealousy, with her mischievously trickery that seeded and grew deep within the wife’s heart and mind. When finally the two children were of a proper feasting weight and freshness, the witch cast a dastardly spell that molded all of the bread and food in the small cottage on the hill, all except two golden loaves.

The wife, fearsomely jealous of the children, wanted the bread for herself, she wanted life and the man for herself. For this she wove a tightly bound tale to the man and convinced him to abandon his children in the wood so that the two of them may live. With a sad heart the man led the children deep into the forest and lit a fire for them before returning to the cottage with his wife. The witch waited all night and day for the children to stumble upon her edifice of delicacies, but come they never did. Upon looking into her devilish cauldron the witch saw that the older boy, Hansel, had left a trail of pebbles and had led them back home. That night the witch used her magics to enflame the hatred in the wife even more so than it had ever been before. She cast a spell upon the door’s locks, preventing Hansel from gathering more pebbles. Now they would come.

The next morning the wife again coerced the man into leading the children into the wood, this time much much deeper than before to ensure that the children would not return home in the morning. Without any pebbles to leave a trail, Hansel tried to leave behind bits of breads to which the witch sent a flock of black ravens to devour. In the morning the witch gazed into her cracked and rusted cauldron and watched the children as they wandered aimlessly in the forest. Further and further yet into the wood she coaxed them until, after three long days of wandering and starving the children were on the edge of her copse. The witch sent a bird, snow-white in down, to lead Hansel and Gretel to her edible home. There the children’s eyes feasted from afar and their stomachs consumed readily the goods that awaited them in the meadow. The witch watched menacingly from within the structure as Hansel hefted himself upon the roof and bit into the cakes that lay there and as Gretel greedily popped an entire crystal sugar window from the side.

The witch then appeared outside, a cane in hand, and reprimanded the children for eating her home before kindly inviting them in. She made for them a very large dinner and two beds with fresh white linens. As they slept the witch mulled over which to eat first and finally decided on Hansel, the much larger one, and whilst he slept she bundled him in the sheet and tossed him in the stable. The witch forced Gretel to clean her house and to feed Hansel in order to fatten him up. For three weeks the witch made Gretel do such awful deeds, and each day after Gretel left food for Hansel the witch would have him stick his finger below the door so she could feel how he was fattening up. She did not realize, however, that Hansel had tricked her with a small bone and it had worked because her eyesight was so poor. The witch had become infuriated that Hansel had not fattened at all after all that time and one morning she decided that she was going to cook him, whether he was fat or not.

The witch then commanded Gretel to go and light the fires for the oven, all the while yelling at the girl to stop praying and crying. Around the back of the house the witch prepared her large cauldron with water to make a stew of the boy, for she planned on tricking Gretel into the oven. When she returned to the front and saw that the fires had indeed been lit, she told Gretel to climb inside the oven to see if it were hot enough for cooking. Gretel, being a dubious little girl, feined that she did not know how exactly to climb into the oven and as the witch ducked her head inside to demonstrate, Gretel pushed her in headlong and shut the door.

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