A wood-cutter lived with his wife and two children. They had very little food. His wife told the woodcutter to take the children to the forest and leave them there.
The children heard her. Hansel crept outside. The moon shone brightly, and pebbles glittered like silver. Hansel stuffed his pocket full and went back to bed. The next morning the woman told the children to follow them. As they walked, Hansel dropped the pebbles.
When they stopped, the father said, “Rest, we will be back.”
The children fell asleep and woke after dark. Hansel said, “When the moon has risen, we will find the way.”
They followed the pebbles and found the house. When the woman saw them, she was angry, but their father rejoiced.
The woman said they must go again. The children heard her. Hansel went to pick up pebbles, but he could not because the door was locked.
The woman woke them and gave them a piece of bread. As they walked, Hansel dropped bits of his bread. They stopped and the woman told them to rest and went away. Hansel said to Gretel, “We shall see the crumbs of bread I dropped.” But, that night, they could not find their way back as the birds had eaten the crumbs. They walked all night but were lost.
For days they walked. Finally, they saw a house of bread and cakes. They began to eat, and a woman came out. The woman said, “Come stay with me.” She led them into her house fed them.
The woman was a witch. As the children slept, she carried Hansel into a stable and locked the door. She went to Gretel and cried, “Cook for your brother. When he is fat, I will eat him.” Gretel was forced to do what the witch commanded.
Every morning the woman said, “Stretch out your finger that I may feel if you are fat.” Hansel stretched out a little bone towards her because she could not see. She was surprised that he was so thin. Finally, she impatiently said, “Tomorrow I will cook him.”
The next morning the woman said, “I have already heated the oven. Creep in and see if it is properly heated.” Gretel said, “I do not know how to get in.” The woman said, “Look, I can get in!” and she put her head into the oven. Gretel pushed her inside and shut the door.
“Hansel, we are saved! The old witch is dead!” said Gretel.