Hansel and Gretel by the Brothers Grimm

There once was a man and a woman

who had two children
Hansel and Gretel

and they lived together
in a cabin
by the woods

One day, the woman
realized they would not have
enough to eat
for everyone

for the land was
in famine
and they had stumbled upon
hard times

and so, she said to her husband
let us lead our children
into the woods
and leave them there

that way we will survive
though they will die

the husband couldn’t bear
to think of such a thing
but realizing
that they would all starve
if this wasn’t
done

he consented to her plan

and so they took their
children
Hansel and Gretel into the woods

Fortunately, Hansel had been
awake on that evening
when the plans
were being discussed

and he prepared his own plan
to ensure
that he and his sister
would be safe

and so, as the parents
led their children into the woods
he dropped
little pieces of stone behind
him

special stone which would
illuminate in the moon-light

that way, when night-time came
he and his sister
would be able to make
their way back home

and so, upon reaching the center
of the woods
the man and woman
told their children
to lie down and go to sleep

as they went
back home
abandoning them to nature’s keep

but Hansel did wake up
his sister in the middle of the night
and they made
their journey back despite

upon arriving home the mother
was annoyed
their plan somehow was foiled
there stood her child
covered in dirt

next time she
would be sure to make it work

and, indeed, hard times continued
and so she urged
her husband
to follow-through with their
earlier intentions
to again lead their children
even farther in the woods

to perish
unmentioned

and the children were
led by the hand
to the center of the forest

but again Hansel was wise
to their plans
and so he dropped breadcrumbs
behind
him
to remember the avenue
back home

and as they were again
told to go to sleep
Hansel did awaken
at day-break
looking for the breadcrumb trail

but unfortunately,
the crumbs had already
been eaten up by wild animals

they tried to make their way
home
anyway
following a bird singing so sweet

but it was to no-avail
they were lost
in the wilderness

then, they came upon a house
made of gingerbread
with icing and cake for a roof
and sugared-windows

and so
they started nibbling at it like
mice
for they were very hungry
and inside
a voice called out

“Whose that nibbling at my house?”
“Whose that nibbling like a mouse?”

but they responded

“It is noone but the wind!”

and then a lady did come outside
looking ever-so sweet
and she says to them
“Come in dears, it will be my treat.”

and they go inside
and she feasts them with
pancakes and milk
and sugar and honey
and strawberry jam

and they are so happy
after
the long cold nights out
alone in the wilderness

having been left to die
by their parents

and the woman gives them beds
to sleep in
which are soft and warm
and a new place to call home

and they embrace her
and she tells them stories
and a week goes
by
with not a worry in the world

but then, it turns out
this woman is actually
something more than what she
seems

she is a Witch!
a spider-woman who has lured
in her catch
put them at ease
with milk saucer-pans
and chocolates and cheese

but now she will have
her just-deserts fitting
and
so

she takes Hansel
and puts him in the stable behind
the house

chained like an animal

and she tells Gretel
to bring her brother water and bread
as he stands there
in woe

and there is nothing Gretel
can do
but follow the orders
of this Witch
who took them in
under false-pretenses

and she sees the pain on her brother’s
face
as she gives him his last meals
fattening him up
for
the Witch desires to eat
him

until he’s all gone

and a week passes
and she checks Hansel’s fingers
to see whether
he’s been properly fattened

and she tells Gretel
to prepare the oven
to make sure the flames
are just right
for roasting her brother
to her delight

and the Witch urges
Gretel to go into the oven
which was a large
furnace room of bronze and tin

with a narrow
oval entrance

but Gretel
having experienced being
abandoned not once but twice
in the wilderness
by her own parents

now seeing the trickery
and deception of the witch
who pretended to be a sweet woman
when really intending
on devouring
her sibling

after having been forced
to bring her brother
his last morsels of food

realized the Witch
was going to eat her
too

and so
she did not step into that
iron furnace-blast

but instead pretended not to understand
how
to gain entrance

leading the Witch to say

“You stupid Child, like this!”

and the Witch lowered her head
and went in
demonstrating
with facility the ease
of entering that hellish gate

and in that moment of arrogance
Gretel did shut the furnace door
sealing the witch in
to burn

consumed by the fire

as she rescued her brother
from his entrapment

and they left
hand in hand