HANSEL AND GRETEL
Hard by a great forest dwelt a poor wood-cutter with his wife and his
two children. The boy was called Hansel and the girl Gretel. He had
little to bite and to break, and once when great dearth fell on the
land, he could no longer procure even daily bread. Now when he thought
over this by night in his bed, and tossed about in his anxiety, he
groaned and said to his wife: 'What is to become of us? How are we to
feed our poor children, when we no longer have anything even for
ourselves?' 'I'll tell you what, husband,' answered the woman, 'early
tomorrow morning we will take the children out into the forest to
where it is the thickest; there we will light a fire for them, and
give each of them one more piece of bread, and then we will go to our
work and leave them alone. They will not find the way home again, and
we shall be rid of them.' 'No, wife,' said the man, 'I will not do
that; how can I bear to leave my children alone in the forest?--the
wild animals would soon come and tear them to pieces.' 'O, you fool!'
said she, 'then we must all four die of hunger, you may as well plane
the planks for our coffins,' and she left him no peace until he
consented. 'But I feel very sorry for the poor children, all the
same,' said the man.
The two children had also not been able to sleep for hunger, and had
heard what their stepmother had said to their father. Gretel wept
bitter tears, and said to Hansel: 'Now all is over with us.' 'Be
quiet, Gretel,' said Hansel, 'do not distress yourself, I will soon
find a way to help us.' And when the old folks had fallen asleep, he
got up, put on his little coat, opened the door below, and crept
outside. The moon shone brightly, and the white pebbles which lay in
front of the house glittered like real silver pennies. Hansel stooped
and stuffed the little pocket of his coat with as many as he could get
in. Then he went back and said to Gretel: 'Be comforted, dear little
sister, and sleep in peace, God will not forsake us,' and he lay down
again in his bed. When day dawned, but before the sun had risen, the
woman came and awoke the two children, saying: 'Get up, you sluggards!
we are going into the forest to fetch wood.' She gave each a little
piece of bread, and said: 'There is something for your dinner, but do
not eat it up before then, for you will get nothing else.' Gretel took
the bread under her apron, as Hansel had the pebbles in his pocket.
Then they all set out together on the way to the forest. When they had
walked a short time, Hansel stood still and peeped back at the house,
and did so again and again. His father said: 'Hansel, what are you
looking at there and staying behind for? Pay attention, and do not
forget how to use your legs.' 'Ah, father,' said Hansel, 'I am looking
at my little white cat, which is sitting up on the roof, and wants to
say goodbye to me.' The wife said: 'Fool, that is not your little cat,
that is the morning sun which is shining on the chimneys.' Hansel,
however, had not been looking back at the cat, but had been constantly
throwing one of the white pebble-stones out of his pocket on the road.
When they had reached the middle of the forest, the father said: 'Now,
children, pile up some wood, and I will light a fire that you may not
be cold.' Hansel and Gretel gathered brushwood together, as high as a
little hill. The brushwood was lighted, and when the flames were
burning very high, the woman said: 'Now, children, lay yourselves down
by the fire and rest, we will go into the forest and cut some wood.
When we have done, we will come back and fetch you away.'
Hansel and Gretel sat by the fire, and when noon came, each ate a
little piece of bread, and as they heard the strokes of the wood-axe
they believed that their father was near. It was not the axe, however,
but a branch which he had fastened to a withered tree which the wind
was blowing backwards and forwards. And as they had been sitting such
a long time, their eyes closed with fatigue, and they fell fast
asleep. When at last they awoke, it was already dark night. Gretel
began to cry and said: 'How are we to get out of the forest now?' But
Hansel comforted her and said: 'Just wait a little, until the moon has
risen, and then we will soon find the way.' And when the full moon had
risen, Hansel took his little sister by the hand, and followed the
pebbles which shone like newly-coined silver pieces, and showed them
They walked the whole night long, and by break of day came once more
to their father's house. They knocked at the door, and when the woman
opened it and saw that it was Hansel and Gretel, she said: 'You
naughty children, why have you slept so long in the fores
Song & Lyrics Facts
The London Philharmonic Orchestra released the song "Evening Prayer" from Hansel and Gretel in 1994. The track appears on their album, Humperdinck: Hansel & Gretel.
This beautiful piece was composed by Engelbert Humperdinck and arranged for orchestra by John Lanchbery. The lyrics are written by Adelheid Wette. This classical piece is a perfect way to end an evening with its soothing melody and peaceful words. It captures the innocence of childhood and the beauty of bedtime prayers. With its inspiring message of faith and hope, this song will remain timeless. The lyrics evoke imagery of a safe and secure home, as well as the comfort that comes from being surrounded by loved ones.