Hansel and Gretel

This story is a sequel to: Golden girl VS Brown bears (it’s best to read that one first)

It had been seventy years since Goldilocks cursed the bears. Mother Bear and Father bear lived half human lives and died peacefully. Baby Bear (who became not such a baby) went on to have children, then grandchildren, but sadly died before he could see is great grandchildren. He passed down to all his descendants the story of his parents and how they must get revenge on the evil witch: Goldilocks. Goldilocks, having put a ‘spell of youth’ on herself stayed alive for a very long time. Over the years, she hunted down anyone who was related to the three bears, and destroyed them all. This is the story of one generation (Baby Bear’s great grandchildren: Hansel and Gretel) and how they believed in the great story of their ancestor’s feud with Goldilocks that their father had told them. They get kicked out of their home and into the woods where they find something very mysterious…

Once upon a time a very poor woodcutter lived in a tiny cottage in the forest with his two children, Hansel and Gretel. They were descendants of the great and rich Mother Bear and Father Bear, but were not very great and rich themselves. His second wife (Hansel and Gretels’s despised stepmother) often treated them very badly. For example: shouting, forcing to work and ill-feeding. She was also forever nagging the woodcutter.

“There is not enough food in the house for us all. There are too many mouths to feed! We must get rid of the two brats,” she declared. She kept on trying to persuade her husband to abandon his children in the forest, but he would not let that happen for he loved them. One night while Hansel and Gretel ‘were in bed’, their evil stepmother and thoughtful father had a conversation about them, “You should take them miles from home, so far that they can never find their way back! Maybe someone will find them and help them. Maybe…” Declared the stepmother with an evil glint her eye. The poor woodcutter didn’t know what to do. Hansel who, that evening, had overheard his parents conversation, comforted Gretel who was crying for their stepmother was so evil that she could probably persuade their father to do it.

“Don’t worry! If they do leave us in the forest, we’ll find the way home,” he said. Slipping out of the house he filled his pockets with little white pebbles, then went back to bed hoping with all his heart that his father was strong enough to stand up to his disgusting wife.

All night long, the unfortunate woodcutter and his wife argued on and on until, in the morning, he led Hansel and Gretel away deep into the thick forest. But as they went into the depths of the trees, Hansel dropped a little white pebble here and there on the mossy green ground. At a certain point, the two children reached a small glade. Soon they found they really were alone for the woodcutter had plucked up enough courage to desert them, mumble an excuse and went back to his horrible life.

The night fell, the moon like a single-layer wedding cake in the sky but the woodcutter did not return. Gretel began to cry, tears streaming down her cheeks. Hansel felt scared too but he tried to hide his feelings and comfort his sister. Hansel told Gretel not to worry, even though he was very anxious that his stones wouldn’t show up. Luckily for them the moon was full that night and Hansel waited until its cold light seeped through the trees. Soon, his white stones – that he had collected beforehand – gleamed in the darkness: very bright but dull next to the moon. Hansel encouraged Gretel to get up and start walking. The children found their way home then crept through a half open window, without awakening their parents. Cold and exhausted but thankful to be home again, they quietly slipped into bed.

The next day, when their stepmother discovered that Hansel and Gretel had returned, she went into a rage. Inside, their father was bursting with happiness but had to hold in his joy. Holding in her feelings, but for another reason than her husband, she locked her bedroom door, then shouted at the poor man for failing to carry out her orders. The weak woodcutter protested, but was full of fear when it came to disobeying his cruel wife. The wicked stepmother kept Hansel and Gretel under lock and key all day with nothing for supper but a sip of water and some hard, stale bread. All night, husband and wife quarreled, and when it was morning, the woodcutter led the children out into the forest having lost the argument.

However Hansel had not eaten his bread, and as he walked through the trees, he left a trail of crumbs behind him to mark the way – just as he did before. But the small boy had forgotten about the hungry birds that lived in the forest. When they saw him, they flew along behind him and in no time, had eaten all the crumbs. Again, with a lame excuse, the woodcutter left his two children by themselves this time with no hope of finding their way back…

“I’m frightened!” wept Gretel bitterly. “I’m freezing and hungry and I want to go home!” Hansel tried to encourage his sister, but he too shivered when he glimpsed frightening shadows and menacing eyes around them in the darkness. Though they were just figments of his imagination, they felt very, very real. All night the two children huddled together for warmth at the foot of a large tree. Hansel told Gretel the story of their ancestors and the curse that an evil witch put on them to make them human. “It was foretold,” he said, “that two young children, descendants of the great Three Bears -”
“Just like us?” Interrupted Gretel.
“Just like us… Would defeat the witch and turn all their relatives back into bears. Though I doubt it would be us.” The curse only lasted for another week but they would hate for the next generation of their family to be cursed as well. They sat in awe that the two children foretold could be them; dreaming the rest of the night.

When it was light enough they started to wander about the forest seeking a path – but all hope soon faded. They were well and truly lost. They had been to these woods many a time but had never been further than twenty to thirty metres away from the house. On they walked and walked, until suddenly they came upon a strange cottage in the centre of a glade. They were a bit confused for the cottage looked very weird so ran up a bit closer to get a better look. “This is caramel!” gasped Hansel as he broke a large chunk of plaster from the wall. “And this is sweet white icing!” exclaimed Gretel, putting another piece of delicious wall in her mouth. Starving but delighted, the children began to eat pieces of candy broken off the cottage. They explored the whole of the outside finding treats: from cake to chocolate, liquorice to ice cream: heaven for small kids who had not eaten all day.

The two children had never tasted so much of something so delicious – let alone a house full! They were both incredibly happy that they had found something to eat and wanted to stay there forever.They were just about to try a piece of the biscuit door when it suddenly swung open. It only just narrowly missed Hansel’s face for it took him by surprise. A crafty looking old woman walked out of her sweet cottage. Her long, golden hair was a contrast to her ancient looking face. At first, Hansel and Gretel were terrified, and frankly a bit embarrassed, but when they saw a stick protruding out of her pocket: they thought she was just a friendly knitting granny. They thought wrong, very wrong…

The old, mysterious lady lead them into her house and shut the door firmly behind them. “Are you related to the three bears by any chance?” The two children nodded, not paying much attention to the strange and accurate question for they were still stuffing themselves with sweets. The old lady smiled and suddenly shoved Hansel into a peculiarly large sized cage. Grabbing Gretel firmly by the arm she spat,”You’re nothing but skin and bones! I shall fatten you up and eat you! As for you little girl you can do the housework, then I’ll eat you both after renewing the curse that I placed on your ancestors!” she looked at the kid’s facial expressions of realisation of who she was, “And yes! I am Goldilocks!”

Hansel (for Gretel was being forced to clean because she was under a spell) asked her why she was doing this. She answered, “One, because I must curse someone else related to the three bears so that the curse doesn’t break. Two, because I’m hungry!” After about an hour of really hard work Gretel felt that she could now move to her own will. She took a bit of melting ice-cream from the window ledge and smeared it over Goldilocks’s spectacles that lay next to her sleeping body. Gretel did this because she knew Goldilocks’s eyesight was bad, so if she could make it even a little bit worse she could move around undetected. Hansel just stayed extremely quiet so as not to wake her up for when he moved his cage it would rattle.

It was now dark outside and Goldilocks had finally woken up. She put on her spectacles, not suspectacling a thing, and called, “What did you nasty little children do to my glasses?” Hansel answered, “Nothing?” She let this pass and now spoke to Gretel, “Are you still working!?” Gretel answered with a ‘yes’ though she obviously wasn’t.  “Let me feel your finger!” said the witch to Hansel every day to check if he was getting any fatter. Now, Gretel had brought her brother a chicken bone, and when the witch went to touch his finger, Hansel held out the bone instead.

The two kids had now been at the house for seven days during which the daily routine would be: Goldilocks wakes up, Gretel pretends to still be working under her spell, and Hansel sits, cramped in his cage. ‘Now why can’t Gretel just open the door and let Hansel out while Goldilocks is asleep?’ I hear you ask. Well, that is because only the witch has the key and it’s invisible to non-magic users. One day Hansel got checked to see whether he was fat enough. “You’re still much too thin!” she complained. When will you become plump?” One day Goldilocks grew tired of waiting.
“Light the oven!” she told Gretel. “We’re going to have a tasty roasted boy today! Then we’ll re-enact the curse! ” A little later, hungry and impatient, she went on, “Run and see if the oven is hot enough.” Gretel returned, whimpering, “I can’t tell if it is hot enough or not.” But really it was as hot as the sun sunbathing in Death Valley. Angrily, the witch screamed at the little girl, “Useless child! I’ll see for myself.” But when Goldilocks bent down to peer inside the oven to check the heat, Gretel gave her a tremendous push and slammed the oven door shut. The witch had been killed. “Ding dong the witch is dead!” sang Hansel and Gretel. If only their name’s were Dorothy and Toto…

Gretel ran to set her brother free (now able to because the witch was dead and so the previously invisible key appeared on the chocolate counter nearby). They made quite sure that the oven door was tightly shut behind the witch. Also, just to be on the safe side, they fastened it firmly with a large padlock then hid the key where they Goldilocks would never find it. They were feeling extremely hungry so they stuffed themselves with all sorts of delicious things like: door, window, carpet, bed and even sink. Soon after, they discovered, amongst the witch’s belongings, a huge chocolate egg. Inside lay a mountain of shiny, valuable gold coins. “This would be great for dad! We could also kick our evil stepmother out!” exclaimed Hansel. They headed back home, knowing the way because of the sound of trees being cut. But what they completely missed was: their impeccable hearing and furry ears.

From about fifty metres away from their house, they saw the outline of a much larger shape than their dad cutting wood. As they came closer they realised that it was actually a bear! Their dad was a bear and so were they! The curse had been broken. They all immediately kicked their wicked stepmother out (never to return) roaring scarily in her face. The three bears lived happily ever after in luxury.

Words: 2203, words to date: 16123

If you liked this story, please sponsor Josh at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JoshNazombe , where you can suggest an idea for his next story or poem…


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