“Nibble, nibble, little mouse, who’s there nibbling at my house?”. All of a sudden, the door opened, and an old woman came creeping out.
But the old woman had only pretended to be so friendly. She was actually an evil witch who lay in wait for little children and had built her gingerbread house just to draw them in. Whenever she managed to ensnare a child, she would kill it, boil it, and eat it. This was her very favorite way to feast. Witches have red eyes and cannot see very far, but they have a powerful sense of smell, just like an animal’s, and they can tell from afar when humans are approaching. When Hansel and Gretel were getting close to her trap, she had cackled wickedly and sneered to herself, “I’ve got them! They can’t get away from me now.”
Early the next morning, before the children had awakened, she got up and gazed at them resting so sweetly, with their plump, rosy cheeks, and snickered to herself, “My my, won’t they make tasty little morsels.” And she grabbed Hansel with her scraggly hand and dragged him into a little pen, where she locked him up behind a barred door. He screamed all he could, but it did him no good at all. Then she went to Gretel, shook her awake, and said, “Get up, you little slowpoke! Carry water and make your brother something good to eat. He’s sitting out in the pen and needs to be fattened up. And when he is, I will eat him!”
Fairy Tales, 1812