Once a boy named Hansel and his sister, Gretel, lived with their parents in a tiny cottage at the edge of a dense forest. Their father was a simple woodcutter. Although the family always had plenty of firewood to keep their home warm and cozy, often there was not enough food. In fact, many times Hansel and Gretel had nothing but a crust of bread for their supper.
Night after night, long after Hansel and Gretel had gone to bed, their parents would sit at the table and discuss the family's future. Even though they whispered, Hansel and Gretel could still hear them talking.
"What is to become of us?"asked Father. "Soon we will not have even enough money for flour."
"We will manage," Mother said. "We always find ways to manage."
"We all will surely starve unless I go through the forest to find work," Father sighed.
"Do not say such things," Mother cried.
"With no one to sell my wood to," Father continued, "we have no money. Without money, we cannot buy food. What other choice do we have? I cannot expect my children to find work!"
Mother gasped at the very thought.
"So you understand," Father said holding her hand, "I will go through the forest to find work so that we will have more to eat."
"Enough for one night," Mother said calmly. "You are a woodcutter. An honest, hard working woodcutter. We will find a way to manage. Let us get some rest now."
"Hansel, did you hear?" Gretel spoke to her brother in the dark.
"I heard," said Hansel.
"I do not want Father to leave," she said. "What can we do?"
"I will go," Hansel answered.
"You will go where?" Gretel asked.
"I will travel through the forest to find work," Hansel said quietly.
"Then, I am coming with you," said Gretel.
"Don't be silly," Hansel laughed. "The forest is a dangerous place. You cannot go."
"If the forest is so dangerous," said Gretel, "you may need my help."
"Gretel, you are very stubborn. Alright then," Hansel said climbing out of his bed. "We will leave tonight."
Before daylight, and before their parents were awake, Hansel and Gretel got out of bed and pulled on their clothes. Gretel collected some bread from the kitchen and stuffed it into her pockets.
"So we won't starve on our journey," she said.
"I suppose it is not such a bad idea for you to come along," Hansel said as he lead his sister out the door and into the dark forest.
Gretel took a last look at the house. "Goodbye, Father and Mother," Gretel whispered. The children walked silently. They walked the entire day through the tangled brush and tall trees. They walked until their feet hurt.
To find out what happened next in "Hansel and Gretel", go to the next page.