Below is the fourth part of "Hansel and Gretel."
The old woman prepared Hansel and Gretel a meal of pancakes with rich syrup. She poured them large glasses of milk.
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As they ate, they told her of their adventure in the forest. They told her about their plans to find work.
The old woman smiled. "Such good children you are. And the forest is such a dangerous place! Come now, I have made up beds for you. Rest for your journey." She showed them two little beds that were covered with soft down.
"I know what work I will find at the other end of the forest," Gretel said
yawning and slipping into the warm bed. "I will learn to build
beautiful houses made of cookies, cakes and giant candies."
"You may need my help," Hansel said drifting off to sleep.
Before the children woke the old woman grabbed Hansel and locked him up in a little cage. Next she turned to Gretel who was still sleeping. "Wake up, you lazy thing, and fetch some water to cook something good for your brother.
When he is fat enough I shall eat him," said the woman.
Gretel rubbed her eyes. "This must be a nightmare!" she said.
"She is a witch!" Hansel cried from inside the cage.
"That's right," the witch shouted. "I am a witch and you are my supper."
For the next few weeks, the witch made sure Hansel got plenty to eat. She wanted him to become very, very fat. Each morning she stood at his cage and said, "Stick out your finger so I can see how plump you are getting!"
But Hansel was clever and brave. He knew that witches do not see very
well. Instead of his finger, he stuck out a thin little chicken bone that Gretel had managed to pass him secretly.
"Hmmm," said the witch, as she felt the chicken bone. "What a bony little thing you are! You must eat more!" And she yelled at Gretel to bring Hansel more food. Meanwhile, Gretel was given only crusts of bread to eat.
At night, when the old witch was asleep in her warm bed and Gretel laid down in the corner of the kitchen, the two children would sing softly the
songs they had learned from their parents.
To learn the fate of "Hansel and Gretel," go to the next page.