Neglected children, poverty, a house of candy, and a hero, Hansel and Gretel is a fairy tale that offers a lot. With brave children having to deal with an evil stepmother, getting lost in a forest, and then thwarting a horrifying witch, it has long been a favorite with children.
The Story of the Hansel and Gretel Sweet House
The Brothers Grimm first published the Hansel and Gretel story in 1812. However, it is a classic fairy tale that is much older than this publication date might suggest. For example, there are manuscripts from the 14th century that include tales of a house of candy.
There are many versions of this fairy tale, with the plot beginning in a woodcutter's cottage. There is the woodcutter, his two children Hansel and Gretel, and their stepmother.
The family is poor, and food is hard to come by. To prevent starvation, the stepmother persuades the woodcutter to lead his children into the forest and let them fend for themselves. The woodcutter initially doesn't agree to abandon his children but is eventually persuaded to take them deep into the forest.
The children overhear the plot to lose them in the forest and hatch a plan. Hansel collects small flint stones, which he uses to mark their route into the forest the following day. The children use this to find their way back home.
The stepmother once more persuades her husband to try again. And once more, the children overhear what is going to happen to them the next day. However, this time they aren't able to gather stones to mark the path home.
The children are given a piece of bread and this is used by Hansel to mark their path. This trail of breadcrumbs, however, doesn't help the children find their way home. Birds have eaten the crumbs, and the children are lost in the forest.
Hungry and hopelessly lost in the forest, the children follow a bird and are amazed to stumble across a house made of candy. Having had little to eat, the pair begin to eat the house.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the owner isn't happy with their home being eaten, but the old lady does offer to feed the hungry children. They accept the offer, but little do they know that this is just a way of luring them inside the home.
The old lady is a witch who wants to eat the children, but she needs to fatten them up first. Hansel and Gretel's candy house is a trap for children, and these aren't the first kids to get caught.
The witch makes Gretel cook food for Hansel, so he puts on weight. When she decides this is taking too long, she gets Gretel to prepare the oven to cook Hansel.
Gretel tricks the witch into getting in the hot oven, shutting her inside. She then rescues her brother. The children find gems inside the home, which they take before finding their way home with the help of a bird.
Once home, they find their father waiting for them. Their stepmother died while they were gone, and now with the gems, they aren't going to starve either.
The Hidden Meaning Behind Hansel and Gretel
Though this might seem like a simple fairy tale, there are hidden meanings. Sometimes old stories are a way of recounting horrible things that have happened in the past.
The family is suffering from hunger, and when there have been famines in the distant past, sometimes parents did give up their children. Even worse, there does seem to be an indication that some resorted to cannibalism. The fear that the ones you love will do terrible things when the situation gets bad is a horrifying thought.
Children having to save themselves when their father leaves them to die shows resourcefulness, courage, and intelligence. It encourages children not to give up when things get difficult or frightening.
The children also trust the old lady after being attracted to her edible house, only to find out they were on the menu. This is a cautionary tale, perhaps partly intended to warn kids away from taking the candy and trusting an unknown adult.
Gretel kills the witch and seems the stronger of the two children. Showing girls that they can be the hero of the story too.
There seems to be an obvious link between killing the witch and the stepmother dying, but is this really the case? While they represent a similar character to the children, they don't need to be the same person in the story to make it work.
Best Fairy Tale Series House of Sweets Building Set
If you have been intrigued by this fairy tale or if you want to bring it to life for a child, we recommend the House of Sweets building set from FUNWHOLE.
The building set offers hours of amusement when creating a magical gingerbread house. It includes customized lighting effects that illuminate the model creating an extra dimension and setting it apart from other brick sets. With colorful candy canes and gingerbread walls, this model almost looks good enough to eat.
You won't be looking for candy for gingerbread house with this building set, as everything's included. With just under 1,000 pieces and a complete LED light set, there is everything you need to create this stunning model.
Don't miss out on the House of Sweets building set, which is suitable for adults and children alike. Have fun constructing the model, then display it, turning the lights on in the evening to really show it off.
Despite this fairy tale having originally been published more than 200 years ago, it is still popular today. With feature films retelling the story, often focusing on the darker side of the tale.
This enduring fairy tale offers many hidden meanings, that can be used as a teaching opportunity for parents and means the story is all the more intriguing. Building a model of the gingerbread house can both assist in helping your child learn, along with creating a fantastic display model and pastime for adults.