Hansel and Gretel had been abandoned within the dark forest, the hooting of the owls echoing ominously around them. Their destitute parents were unable to support them, and thus were forced to forage for themselves or starve. Though they did not begrudge them for their heart-wrenching decision, they were nonetheless terrified. Then, with the trembling Gretel holding close, Hansel managed to spy a house made of sweets through a clearance in the trees.
Added on June 21, 2015 as a part of Grab Bag 12 Card Pack featuring classic fairy tales characters.
"Hansel and Gretel" (German: Hänsel und Grethel) is a well-known fairy tale of German origin, recorded by the Brothers Grimm and published in 1812. Hansel and Gretel are a young brother and sister whose father is a woodcutter; when a great famine settles over the land, the woodcutter's abusive second wife decides to take the children into the woods and abandon them there so that she and her husband will not starve to death, because the children eat too much. After days of wandering, they discover a large cottage built of gingerbread and cakes with window panes of clear sugar. An old woman emerges and lures them inside with the promise of soft beds and delicious food. Unaware that their hostess is a witch who waylays children to cook and eat them, the children enter the house. The following morning the witch locks Hansel in an iron cage in the garden and feeds him to fatten him up, and forces Gretel into becoming a slave. After some time she prepares the oven for children, but due to her blindness, she is fooled and burned in the oven herself. The pair discover a vase full of treasure and precious stones, they took the jewels and set off for home where their father was searching for them all this time, his wife died from unknown causes.
Hansel (German Hänsel) is a variant of masculine name Hans (short for Johannes (John), "God is gracious"), meaning "little Hans." Gretel is a German shortening of the English feminine name Margarete, derived via French (Marguerite) and Latin (Margarita) from Greek Margarites, derived from the noun margaron meaning "pearl".
Artwork by Kyoungmin Park.