The nasty stepmother told the woodcutter, "We have no money and there are too many mouths to feed! You must take the girls deep into the woods, so that someone else can provide for them. Surely, someone will want to take care of them. You must do what I say or else..."
The woodcutter was deeply afraid of the "what else" and felt he had no choice but to follow the orders of his nasty wife. He was hoping that surely someone would really be able to give his children a better life than this. Hannah and Gretel overheard their stepmother's wild demand and was overcome with sadness.
Hannah comforted Gretel and said, "Don't worry, I know God will take care of us no matter what. Plus, we will always have each other." Hannah tried to never show her fear in front of her sister. Hannah knew that she had to be true and brave to help Gretel get through this very tough time, so she concocted a plan for when her father would take them into the woods.
The next day, the father declared that they would be off in search of wood for the stove. He took his girls, Hannah and Gretel with him. They all walked off into the deep, deep woods together. Knowing what her father was instructed to do, Hannah put her plan in motion, from the very moment they left the house. She made a trail of tiny pebbles, so that she and Gretel would be able to follow their way home.
Once they were in the deep, deep forest, the woodcutter decided it was time to chop some wood. He chopped and chopped, until he said he needed more wood, so then he told his daughters to stay and watch the wood until he returns.
Hannah and Gretel waited and waited. They grew tired from all the waiting. As soon as the first twinkle of stars came out, Hannah said that it was time to go home.
Gretel said, "How are we are going to go home? We don't know the way."
Hannah replied, "Gretel, I left a trail of pebbles for us to follow home."
Together they set off to follow the trail of pebbles home. Once they got home, they quietly and tiredly snuck back into their beds and off to sleep they went.
In the morning, the nasty stepmother was surprised to have found the girls sleeping in their room. She immediately went to nag her husband and demand that he take them deeper into the forest or else...
Deathly afraid of the "what else", as soon as the girls awoke, their father declared it was time to fetch more wood. The woodcutter said, "Hannah and Gretel, we must go back into the deep, deep woods to get more wood for the stove as we have already run out!"
Due to the quickness of the trip, Hannah didn't have much time to plan, but all she managed to bring was some pieces of bread. She decided that she would use the bread to leave a trail back home.
As they were making their way into the woods, Hannah broke the bread into tiny pieces to make sure to leave a trail behind them. Unfortunately, Hannah failed to let Gretel know the plan and Gretel was so hungry that she ate up the pieces of bread that she found.
After awhile, Hannah started to pay attention to Gretel and noticed she was chewing. When she demanded to know what she was eating, she told her to stop because that was going to be their way back home. Gretel immediately apologized not knowing the plan and Hannah continued to leave bread crumbs to make a trail. Little did Hannah know, that a tiny bird was just as hungry as Gretel and ate up all the other bread crumbs that was left behind.
Once they were much deeper in the deep, deep forest, the woodcutter decided it was time to chop some wood again. He chopped and chopped, until he said he needed more wood, so once again he told his daughters to stay and watch the wood until he returns.
Hannah and Gretel waited, waited, and waited. But just like last time, they grew tired from all the waiting when Hannah decided it was time to head back home.
Together they set off to follow the trail of bread crumbs home, but to their surprise there were no bread crumbs to be found. Hannah and Gretel were immediately disheartened and started wandering deeper into the dark forest trying to find their way back home.
The young girls were hungry and tired after wandering for a few hours, when they happened to spot the loveliest sight. It was a house made of their favorite fruits and vegetables. Instead of flowers in the flower bed, there were bunches of broccoli. Instead of a tiled rood, there were watermelons and for windows, there were strawberries. There were also vines of grapes growing all along the front of the house. They were so overcome with excitement that they immediately started devouring whatever they could get hands on.
As they were eating, an Old Lady popped out and greeted them. At first, Hannah and Gretel were a bit taken aback, but when the lady offered them more food and a place to stay, they happily took the offer. After all, they were hungry and tired, and had no other place to go.
Little did they know, that what they saw was a spell put on by the Old Lady of the house. She was able to make little children see what they wanted to see in order to capture these little children for herself. Hannah and Gretel were about to step into a lot of trouble.
Upon entering the Old Lady's house, everything changed. It wasn't as lovely as they first saw, and the Old Lady quickly took Hannah and caged her up. She locked her in and there was no way for her to get out. The Old Lady said, "I got you my precious and you will never go home again!"
Then, the Old Lady forced Gretel to become her servant. She made Gretel cook and clean for her.
Little Gretel, knowing what the Old Lady would do to her sister, took the Old Lady's glasses and cracked them so that she could not see clearly. Now every time the Old Lady went to check to see if Hannah had been "fattened" up, Hannah would stick out an old bone, so the Old Lady would think that she was still not quite ready to be eaten.
Growing impatient and hungry from all the waiting, the Old Lady declared she did not care if Hannah was not yet ready. She was hungry now and demanded Gretel get the stove ready for Hannah.
Gretel afraid for her sister pretended to have trouble getting the stove started. She kept calling for the Old Lady telling her that it did not work. Frustrated, the Old Lady got up to see what the problem was.
As soon as the Old Lady was close enough to the oven, Gretel, with all her might, pushed and shoved the Old Lady into the oven.
Gretel freed Hannah and together they watched the Old Lady disappear into smithereens inside the hot, hot oven.
Happy to be free from the Old Lady, Hannah and Gretel quickly searched the house for the Old Lady's stash of gold coins. They found the gold coins, took them, then went on their merry way to find their way back home.
Once they were a good distance from the Old Lady's house, they started to hear their father calling after them. Excited, they followed the sound of his voice and it wasn't long before they were back with him again. The woodcutter happily embraced his Hannah and Gretel and declared his love for them and ask for forgiveness for being so cowardly and not standing up to their nasty stepmother. He told them that once he realized the terrible thing he had done, he ordered his wife out of the house and went in search of them. He had been searching for days now and he was so glad to be back with them again.
Hannah and Gretel were so excited to be with their father again and to share with him the little surprise they had. First, they recounted the story of the terrible Old Lady and how they got away, but as soon as they got home, they were delighted to be able to show him their handful of gold. The woodcutter was absolutely gleeful to have his daughters home and that they no longer have to worry about money.
Hannah said, "Father, see God took care of all of us. Look, we are rich now! You never have to chop wood again and we can have all the fruits and vegetables we want on our table!" They all embraced and were just so overjoyed to be safe and back together.
And they all lived happily ever after...
Have a Happy Halloween!!!