Interview with Hansel and Gretel

Gretel and Hansel
Gretel and Hansel

Grimm’s Grimmest Fairy Tale – Hansel and Gretel

I first heard the fairy tale, ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ when I was about 4 or 5 years old. It was VERY scary! It made me believe that witches were child-eating monsters and gingerbread – in any form – was dangerous to my health.

Now that I am older – older than soil – I find that childish belief even more difficult to dispel since I have recently read the original Grimm’s ‘Hansel and Gretel’ fairy tale. Here is a quick synopsis of that monstrous story:

A woodcutter and his wife lived in a forest with their two children – Hansel, a boy, and Gretel, a girl. There was a famine and no food was available. The mother convinced the father to send the children deep into the forest with one small piece of bread where they would get LOST and never return, and the parents would then have enough food to survive. Hansel left bread crumbs along the way so they could find their way back. But hungry birds ate the crumbs.

The children discovered a house made of bread and cake and sugar and started eating it. An old woman invited them inside. She was an EVIL witch who intended to fatten them up and EAT them! Gretel managed to push the witch into the oven where she was baked to a crisp. She freed Hansel from the cage in which the witch had placed him. They filled their pockets with pearls and jewels they found in the house and made their way home. A white duck carried them over a stream. Their mother had died and their father was overjoyed to see them again. “All anxiety was at an end, and they lived together in perfect happiness.” (Grimm’s words)

Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm
Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm

Can you believe that is a story we tell our sweet little children? It is so evil and terrifying I could not believe it so I searched for Hansel and Gretel to get the real story. With my supernatural talent for interviewing long dead celebrities and fairy tale protagonists, it was not long before I found them.

me – Good morning, Gretel, Hansel. Or should I say, Guten Morgen? Would you mind if I asked you a few questions?

Hansel – Whatever!

Gretel – Now be polite, Hansel. We would be delighted.

me – I have read Grimm’s original fairy tale of your travails and it is so devastating I cannot believe that parents would tell it to their children.

Gretel – In those days when the Brothers Grimm wrote their stories, people believed in witches and dragons and such.

Hansel – They still do. Look at the video game, Dungeons and Dragons .

me – How do you know about that game, Hansel?

Hansel – I have studied video gaming. Doesn’t everyone?

'Hansel and Gretel' is one of the scariest stories ever written! Psychotic mother; stupid, inane father.” – Maurice Sendak

me – Can you tell me what really happened to you both?

Gretel – No sweat. There really was a famine and we were all starving with hardly enough bread to feed us. Our mother . . .

Hansel – She was not our mother. She was our evil stepmother.

Gretel – Yes, and she was heartless. She convinced our father to send us deep into the forest. Now that I think about it, how could she have swayed him?

Hansel – Dope, Gretel, dope!

Gretel – You don’t have to call me names, Hansel.

Hansel – I’m not. Dope – she used a drug. Probably hemlock from her garden.

me – How do you know about hemlock, Hansel?

Hansel – I have studied the lives of the ancient Greek philosophers, and I remember reading that Socrates may have been poisoned by hemlock.

Gretel – Did you know that our loving parents sent us into the forest to get lost twice?

Hansel – The first time I used small round stones to mark our path into the forest.

Gretel – And I can remember now how surprised our ‘dear’ stepmother was to see us return.

Hansel – I have to admit I wasn’t so smart to use bread crumbs the second time. I guess I didn’t realize that the birds were as hungry as we were.

Gingerbread house
Gingerbread house
Betty White
Betty White

me – How long were you lost in the forest?

Gretel – For three mornings we wandered around eating berries and getting weaker and weaker.

Hansel – When we saw the gingerbread house, I thought it was a garage.

me – Mirage?

Hansel – Right! It was such an ‘attractive nuisance.’

me – That’s a legal term.

Hansel – I studied law as well as philosophy.

Gretel – The walls of the small house were made of gingerbread and cake and the windows were sugar.

Hansel – I told Gretel not to eat too much of the windows – she could become diabetic.

me – That’s a medical term.

Hansel – I studied medicine, too.

Gretel – A very old woman came to the door and appeared to be sweet and pleasant.

Hansel – She looked a little like a wizened Betty White.

me – That’s the name of a much loved American actress.

Hansel – I study ‘People’ magazine.

Witch greeting Hansel and Gretel
Witch greeting Hansel and Gretel

Gretel – Hansel is a voracious reader. Before you ask, I study semantics.

Hansel – Not only voracious, but ravenous as well. I study semantics, too.

me – What did the witch, I mean, old woman say to you?

Gretel – She said, and I have memorized this: "Oh, you dear children, who has brought you here? Do come in, and stay with me. No harm shall happen to you." Can you believe it?

Hansel – She led us into her little house and fed us ‘milk and pancakes, with sugar, apples, and nuts.’ Then she showed us to small beds where we laid down, and thought we were in heaven. We were so Gulliver.

me – Gullible!

Gretel – Right! In the morning we came to a rude awakening.

Hansel – You got that right! The old woman revealed herself as a horrible-looking, red-eyed witch, and put me in a cage in the stable to fatten me up before eating.

Gretel – And she forced me to cook for him and feed him the food I made. I got only crab shells to eat.

Gretel shoves witch into oven.
Gretel shoves witch into oven.
Ding dong, the witch is gone!
Ding dong, the witch is gone!

me – What a terrible predicament. Then what happened?

Gretel – Every morning the witch would ask Hansel to stretch out his finger so she could feel if he was getting fatter.

Hansel – But I stretched out a thin little bone to her and it was so dim in the stable she thought it was my finger.

Gretel – Four weeks went by and she grew impatient. I was the one who grew thin.

Hansel – The witch was getting hungry for baked kids and I do not mean goats!

me – What did the witch do next?

Gretel – She heated the oven and told me to creep in to see if it was properly heated for the bread she would bake.

Hansel – Gretel is no fool. She knew the witch meant to bake her first as the appetizer and then me as the entrée.

Gretel – I realized what the witch had in mind so pretended I didn’t know how to climb into the oven, and asked her to show me.

Hansel – When the witch thrust her head into the flaming oven, Gretel gave her a mighty push, shut the iron door and fastened the bolt. End of witch. End of story.

me – A fitting end for an evil witch.

Gretel – I freed Hansel from his cage and we found priceless pearls and genuine jewels in chests in the witch’s house. We filled our pockets with them.

Gretel frees Hansel from cage.
Gretel frees Hansel from cage.
White duck
White duck

Hansel – We hurried to leave the witch’s forest and walked until we came to a large river.

Gretel – There was no bridge nor ferry – just a small white duck who took us across the water.

Hansel – A duck is what the Brothers Grimm wrote but they must have meant dock!

me – That does make more sense.

Gretel – We soon found our way home and our father was overjoyed to see us. He said ‘he had not had one happy hour since he left us in the forest.’

Hansel – Our evil stepmother had died while we were gone – that should have made him happy.

me – So, as Grimm wrote, ‘All anxiety was at an end, and you lived together in perfect happiness.’

Gretel – Are you kidding? Hansel and I packed up our meager clothing and our jewels …

Hansel – ... and took the first stagecoach outta there.

Footnote: It has been reported that Hansel and Gretel were so influenced by this life-changing early episode that years later, they immigrated to America and invested their money in a chain of bakeries: the Gingerbread Woman. Their company became bankrupt when a rival established a new bakery franchise: the Gingerbread Man.

New Movie has it all: action, comedy, horror!

© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2012. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So." Learn how to write a dynamic resume and cover letter, network effectively, interview, and negotiate salary successfully. Includes chapter for older workers.

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Comments for Interview with Hansel and Gretel 97 comments

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I will be sure to tell the correct story to my grandchildren. They don't like the witch but they love the story. My grandson has taken to carrying small white stones in his pocket. He says they will eat his brother Noah first because he doesn't need fattened. Noah is a 2-year old chunky britches. LOL Gracie is skinny so she will be last. She weighs less at 6 than Noah.


Sunnie Day 3 years ago

It is true some of the stories and songs we have sang in the past really have some horrific meanings don't they..Rock a bye baby..is one...down will come baby cradle and all...never did feel comfortable with that one..haha Thanks for a great hub, opening our eyes to the real scoop of Hansel and Gretel..and with that I say Gute Nacht!! :)


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Aw and I, with the very German name, don't know enough German to say Gute Nacht. I had to copy Sunnie's, heehee.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Great interview, BJ. It's such a relief to get the REAL story!

This story was impressed upon my young mind with my older sister Ruth gave me a set of four little books similar to my children's Golden Books, but long before those had made an appearance for kids. These were the stories of four operas, and one was Hansel and Gretel, with colorful illustrations throughout the text and occasional bars of music. I'd always been scared by the story, but compared to "Lohengrin", "Aida" and "Carmen", it was by far my favorite of the four operas! haha


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

You addressed some of my concerns. :)) Very clever! Thank you


xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

What a scary story to be told to children for all these generations! The real one is even worse. The interview was great and irreverent. I liked it a lot.


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

And that was how the Gingerbread Houses were made for children at Christmas! Awesome! I was reading this Hänsel and Gretel story to my son when he was small and he got frightened. I never did it again since then, but now after reading your wonderful interview, I would love to tell it to my small Filipino nieces. I´m not sure if they have heard about it. Thanks for sharing drbj;-) Guten Tag!


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 3 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Clever hub drbj! Funny how everyone those kids didn't like ended up dead? Equal rights for evil witches!


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 3 years ago from North Carolina

The Grimms are masters of the dark and macabre. Wonder if H & G has undertones of famine and cannibalism? Well, that Hansel sure is a well-rounded knowledgeable fellow, wouldn't have guessed that by his goofy picture. Sure enjoyed this interview drbj, hope they can bring back the Gingerbread Woman back to life, there was something magically delicious about that eatery. Oh and thanks for the preview- wooh!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Drbj, you've got a wicked sense of humor and I like it. What a horrible story to tell our kids. The stuff of nightmares. No wonder I never liked gingerbread very much. But the ending was great, "All anxiety was at an end, and they lived together in perfect happiness."


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

By all means, Becky, please do tell this 'correct story' to your lovable grandchildren. They are intelligent like their granny not to like the witch but love the story.

Love that your oldest grandson carries small white pebbles in his pocket. You never know! What an imagination he has that his brother, Noah, who is chunky will get eaten first. And his sister, Gracie, who is thin will be last. That boy has a future as a writer. Trust me! Thanks for the visit, m'dear.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

You are so right, Sunnie. Many of the lullabies and fairy tales we tell our children are terrifying and frightening. You mentioned 'Rock-a-Bye Baby' which may be one of the worst. I updated it in my "Interview with Mother Goose."

Thanks for appreciating the real Hansel and Gretel story, and Guten Morgen to you, m'dear.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Do what I do, Becky, to get foreign translations. Add Google Translate to your Bookmarks. Just sayin'.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Delighted, Nellieanna, that I provided you with such relief in relaying the REAL story behind Hansel and Gretel. Thanks for enjoying the interview.

How clever of your sister, Ruth, to give you such an educational present as those four small books illustrating four different operas - even if they were a bit scary. I can understand why H&G became one of your favorites then.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week, m'luv.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 3 years ago

Thanks for straightening things out for me. Those Grimm Brothers interrupted my sleep as a kid. Up funny and awesome.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 3 years ago from Central Oregon

Ha ha--great interview, BJ. Gotta love Betty White as the front for the witch~ My lands...poor woman--I love her so and can't imagine her in an 'evil' role.

Older than soil, eh? Cute phrase~ Truly though I bought the Grimm's Fairy Tales and began reading them aloud to my boys when they were wee ones--and quickly decided they were decidedly psychotic! I began to worry what they were going to be learning from these horrible tales so I started changing the words as I read...I totally confused them of course as spur of the moment revisions are almost always doomed to failure. They began recounting my versions as well to their friends and I started to get phone calls. I decided there and then to dispense with fairy tales and switch to reality~

I prefer happy endings myself--I suppose most of the tales had happy endings but it seems there is a lot of horror before the resolution--in my mind not what children should probably be exposed to. Just an opinion from another older than soil old lady~


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO

That 2013 witch ain't a witch...that's a vampire! I could tell by the picture on the trailer. Your ingenious piece makes me want to get a copy of The Brothers Grimm Fairytales, the real deal, drbj. It blows my mind, that the very thing that is so special about childhood, innocence, is chased to the forest by graphic fear in Grimms Fairytales and today's video games. We won't allow prayer in public schools, but we preserve the idea of Santa Claus for as long as possible. As always, drbj, your humor got me seriously thinking...

However, I couldn't help but laugh at your response regarding the question as to whether it was actually a "duck" or a dock that brought Hansel & Gretel over the water. You "quacked" me up with your irony, considering reality in the form of a dock, stating "That does make more sense." Makes me want to read a fairytale for adults created by your brilliant mind, drbj. And, that's not a joke. Trust me.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Yes, thanks, BJ. Ruth was very intelligent and a great educator.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

When I was a little kid of about four, my dad sat in the hallway and read to my sisters and me through the open doors of our bedrooms. He had two books of fairy tales...Grimm's, and another, far nicer book with a name that I can no longer recall. One night, my sisters and I asked Dad to not read from Grimm's anymore, and he never did again. It scared us so much we couldn't sleep!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

What a terrific story teller you are. I was like a kid listening to the plot as if i'd never heard it before and would you believe, i loved the Bugs Bunny cartoon? I can't imagine reading the old stories to children, like ' Rock-A-Bye Baby ' There's no wonder i'm afraid of heights.LOL


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

I never heard these fairy tales to my kids, cause I was scared of them when I was young and my Mother read them to me. I still have a book of Grimm's tales. It hasn't been opened in years.

That's a beautiful gingerbread house you included. I wish the ones I make were as beautiful.

Another great interview. Keep 'em coming. I voted UP, etc.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

I didn't know you are a Dr. of humor....This is hilarious. My favorite style of funny......Thank for being just in time...I can call it a day, with a big smile on my face.....G'night drbj. LOVE this Up+++


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

Oops: Big typo on my part. I meant to say I never READ these fairy tales, etc.etc.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Hansel and Gretel is a gruesome fairy tale, but your interview made it very entertaining, drbj! This is a very worthy addition to your great collection of supernatural interviews.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 3 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Great interview drbj. Hansel seems to be a bit of a prig though, and Gretel, not a lot better. Maybe the stepmother just wanted to get rid of them because they were driving her "up the wall". "Know all" kids can be very irritating.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Happy to address some of your concerns, MH. Thanks for the visit and finding this clever.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, xstatic. I know that these fairy tales are often folk tales handed down from generation to generation. But it's hard to understand how those parents would want to scare their children with such horrific stories. Thanks for liking my irreverent version.

For more irreverence, do visit my 'Interview with Mother Goose' Part One and 'Part Two.'


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

Some adults I know were chatting about how this story still scares them today. Good to hear there are better endings. Not sure the movie is one I will see, I prefer the fairy tale story. Great post!


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Guten Tag to you, too, Thelma. Yes, Gingerbread Houses have a long, sweet history. I'm not surprised that your son became frightened by the Hansel and Gretel story when he was small. It was very scary to me, too.

Please do tell my version which is less frightening to your lovely nieces. No thanks are necessary, it was entirely my pleasure. :)


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks for finding this clever, CM. Yes, as you pointed out those two youngsters had powerful 'mojo.' And they were not squeamish when it came to dispatching the evil witch in her own oven.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Alastar. The Brothers Grimm were indeed masters of the macabre. It's true that there may have been a genuine famine at the time H&G was written. And cannibalism was one of the Grimm's favorite topics - remember 'Little Red Riding Hood?'

Hansel does look a little geeky in the photo but he was a professional student. Delighted you enjoyed this interview, and who knows, perhaps one day the Gingerbread Woman will arise again. The film preview does look eerie - this seems to be the decade of the vampire.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Peg. So you like my wicked sense of humor, m'dear. Then you are my new BFF! Like many fairy tales of the era, this one is terrifying to the little ones. Tell them my version instead. And I am not extremely fond of gingerbread either ... unless it is covered in chocolate.

Grimm's ending was pleasant but not very realistic. :)


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Happy to have given you the straight dope, bp. And you are so right - those Grimms were really grim. Thank you for the Up and the gracious comments, m'luv.


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Some of those children's stories are absolutely grotesque... and what that witch had against eatin' gingerbread instead of children, is anybody's guess.

:-)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa

And to think we are complaining about violence in current fiction....

Humans have - at a certain stage of their development - a 'ravenous' hunger for horrors. Why? Do we really NEED fear to obtain wisdom and a 'voracious' hunger for peace and joy?

BTW, is it not Betty White's birthday today - 17 January?

I don't think I am going to sleep tonight. What a horrible way to die - in an oven of fire (instead of gas)!

BTW, if Hansel and Gretel - Hansie en Grietjie - appointed me as their financial adviser, their company would never became bankrupt. Just saying....

Excellent interview with Hansel and Gretel by the popular interviewer, drbj :)


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 3 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

I remember being frightened by the witches fairy tales and the big bad wolf, but we so enjoyed story time with our mother that we still wanted to hear them over and over . . . lol. I never once shared those scary tales to my own children. At least your version was entertaining and humorous! Another scary thing when you think about it is the game of hang-man we played in school. Dreadful.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Audrey.You're right about sweet Betty White. The only sorta evil role she ever played that I know of was as the caretaker of the people-eating gator in the film, 'Lake Placid.'

I'm older than soil and you're younger, m'luv, so I'll dub you 'older than dirt.' (Soil came first.) The Grimm Brothers' tales are not for the faint of heart or mentally healthy. Psychotic is an accurate adjective. They were both a little off the wall. When the younger Grimm married, his brother who remained a bachelor, moved in with him and his wife. Cozy.

So you changed the words when reading? Good thinking. Confusing, yes, but clever of you. Hope the phone calls from disturbed parents tapered off thereafter.

Macabre fairy tales were the order of the day in the olden days - think of a wolf trying to eat Lil Red Riding Hood, Ring Around the Rosy (based on the black plague), the evil witch in Snow White, etc., etc. I'm with you on the preference for happy endings. Think I'll go read the part where the Prince awakens Snow with a kiss. :)

Thanks for dropping by, m'dear.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 3 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

This is scary stuff, I hope you realise I probably won't be able to sleep tonight. Loved this entertaining interview.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO

This is the one story that really creeped me out as a little kid. I am reminded of it all the time when Pedro my parrot likes to sort of gnaw on my finger...he doesn't bite hard so I'm assuming he's testing me and I haven't fattened up yet enough for his taste:) LOL


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

I hate it that the Gingerbread Man business put them out of business. But am glad they were free from the life they had led. Loved the way you played with words, drbj...

Sending you some Angels this evening...:) ps


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 3 years ago from Hemet, Ca

You know... one of these days I am actually going to read all the Grimm fairytales. I love this interview and I wasn't really aware of the dark story behind it. It actually is pretty damn scary.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Amy. You did hit the nail on the head with that comment that we do not allow prayer in public schools, but preserve the idea of Santa Claus for as long as possible. Amen.

Funny you mention the 'duck,' because when I first read the original Grimm fairy tale, I thought how ridiculous to write that a duck conveyed the two innocents across a river. Why not have them find an old canoe or raft? Much more realistic. But then again, witches with gingerbread houses and children-baking ovens are not exactly commonplace.

A fairytale for adults, you say. Read 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' m'dear. Thanks for the 'brilliant - now that is awesome. Trust me, too.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

I knew that, Nellieanna, from your occasional written references to your lovely, talented sister. You are welcome, m'dear.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Will. I'm happy for you that you have such pleasant memories of your dad reading stories of fairy tales to you when you were about four years old. Happier that you and your sisters had enough sense to ask Dad not to read Grimm's tales any longer. And happiest that Dad complied. Those Grimm Brothers stories are really aptly named - GRIM! Thanks for popping in.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks, Ruby, for appreciating my story-telling talent and loving the Bugs Bunny cartoon. Me, too. The cartoon, that is. You mentioned that old lullaby, 'Rock-a-Bye-Baby,' which surely has to be the work of a maniacal author. You might like to read 'Interview with Mother Goose' which contains a more reasonable version.

Afraid of heights? Then I guess I can't interest you in an all-expense-paid trip to visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris with a stop at the Empire State Building in NY. And maybe a side trip to the John Hancock skyscraper in Chicago which actually sways at the top in a high wind. True.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Mary. Do not open that book you have of Grimm's Fairy Tales. It will scare you silly. Promise! So sorry that it frightened you when you were young.

The gingerbread house you make which you described in one of your hubs is every bit as beautiful as the photo above. Trust me.

Thanks for loving my Interviews - I'll try to keep 'em coming. And thanks for the Up and etc., m'dear.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Yes, Ma'am, Paula dear, a Mirthologist, a Doctor of Humor is what I am. Thank you for finding this hilarious - that makes two of us. Love that comment: your 'favorite style of funny.' Delighted I was able to put a big smile on your face. And thanks for the Up with pluses. You are much appreciated, y'know.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

No need to explain, mary dear. By means of my superior skill to translate what people really mean, I knew you meant READ. Heh, heh.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Alicia. Yes, 'Hansel and Gretel' may be one of the most gruesome fairy tales for children ever penned but it is still popular today. Go figure! Thank you for finding it entertaining. And I will remember that you called my collection of supernatural interviews 'great.'


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

I'm not sure what the evil stepmother's motives were, christopher, but she certainly took drastic steps to be rid of H and G. I know that the 'know-it-all' pair might have been trying at times, but come on - banishment to a forest containing an evil child-eating witch?

Thanks for finding this interview great nevertheless. You ARE appreciated.


SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 3 years ago from Philippines

I share with many the same traumatic childhood experience of listening to the Hansel and Gretel story. It was the least of my favorite. I preferred the swashbuckling Robin Hood, the chivalry of King Arthur's court and hooky playing Tom Sawyer. Being of an innocent mind, I failed to appreciate the allegorical aspects of these evil stepmothers and witches.That they were Freudian personalities, placed in fairy tales to help kids gain a better understanding of the adult world. Instead, these creatures manage to burrow deep into my subconscious mind. There they remain even today, lurking. The Grimm brothers should share some of the blame for my dysfunctional behavior. Is there a chance of suing anyone?:)


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Dear Lovable Commenters.

I shall be 'out-of-pocket' for one week but do not despair. When I return I will hasten to answer your gracious and sublime comments which are appreciated almost as much as you are! Trust me! In the meantime, be good and have fun. Hmmmmm, is that statement an oxymoron?


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Haha! brilliant! love the interview, isn't it funny how we read these stories to our children, my mum read them, and little did we realise what a load of psychotic writers there were out there! shoving people in ovens, fattening them up, and so on, little red riding hood was nearly as bad! loved it!


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 3 years ago

I remember as a child having the books "Grimm Fairy Tales". They scared the HELL out of me. Remember "The Little Match Girl"...Boy that one was Sooo Sad! NIGHTMARES...But our parents meant well...Didn't they??

Now I have to say Dear Drbj, this was Fun, not too Scary. The SWEET children (ha, ha)...you Always know how to bring out the best in your Interviews.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

Aha, You're so sweet to offer the great trip but NO thank you..Hee..Have a good time BTW..Cheero


nicomp profile image

nicomp 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

Poor kids, stuck with an evil stepmother... what happened to all the birth mothers? Every hapless child of legend ends up under the stiletto heel of Dad's second wife.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 3 years ago

lol - in that picture of Hansel and Gretal up top they look slightly - addled, lol. No wonder you are a true legend here at the Hub and definitely someone who is on the Hub Wall of fame - your presentations are world class all of the way and always charm and entertain with their witty enlightenment and your very own unique style - no one does it like you - it's always a pleasure to visit and to be visited by you - my most esteemed colleague and friend - I haven't seen you out and about for a week - I hope all is well with you - sincerely, Colin and his cats , Little Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel - lake erie time ontario canada 9:24am with first cup of coffee and the viola da gamba playing


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 3 years ago from United States

DR BJ! Great, great interview. You know, as I think back, a number of those "children's" stories were wicked and evil, albeit they had "good" endings! I loved it, DR BJ!


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Dianna. The original grim, Grimm tale scares me, too. I fail to see the object lesson in scaring little children by stories of witches cooking them. So I thought it was high time to revise the story and make it more youngster (and adult) appealing.

The movie shown in the trailer seems to be entirely different with Hansel and Gretel portraying vampire witch hunters. That's a switch. Thanks for enjoying this.


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drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Chris - you are so right. Many of those ancient fairy tales are not only grotesque but terrifying for children.

Maybe the horrific witch had an eating disorder and couldn't stomach gingerbread. Get it? Stomach? :)


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

You are on the mark, Martie, there was ample violence in the 'olden' fairy tales just like the plethora of violence in today's books, videos and films. Perhaps we need to see horror in order to appreciate the joys we have. (Maybe I'll explore that in a future Hub.)

You are correct, lovable Betty White became 91 this month, bless her soul.

Do hope the original Grimm fairy tale does not keep you from sleeping. Just reread my version - so much more palatable. If Hansie and Grietjie indicate a need for an excellent financial adviser, I promise to point them in your direction. Thanks for finding this interview excellent. H and G send their regards.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Fossillady. You were smart not to share the more horrible, scary fairy tales with your children. And you are correct - the game of 'Hangman' was fun to play in school but couldn't the author of the game just draw the stickman without hanging him? He must have had a very macabre sense of humor.

Thanks for stopping by, m'dear.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

I apologize, Rosemary, if this terrible tale kept you from sleeping - I know it IS scary! But thanks for loving it and finding it entertaining nevertheless.


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drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Join the rest of us, Kelly, this tale seems to have 'creeped out' all of us as children as well.

So you have a clever parrot named Pedro who likes to gnaw on your finger? Be careful, my sweet, he may be a cannibal at heart. If he starts to suddenly become much larger and his teeth (?) start to become obscenely monstrous ... be very, very afraid.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, ps. Yes, it's too bad that Hansel and Gretel didn't hire a PR firm with a Marketing consultant. Then they would have know that 'Gingerbread Man' is a far more recognizable name than his female counterpart.

But they did get out of the forest and the life they formerly led. I believe I read somewhere that they are looking for a new cookie franchise - perhaps one with Famous Amos.

Thanks, m'luv, for loving my word-play.


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drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Stacy. The Grimm Brothers had a very appropriate family name - most of their fairy tales were definitely on the grim, scary side. Do read them though. You will find that my 'Interview with Red Riding Hood and the Three Pigs' is also gruesome with its story of cannibalism, but I have deleted most of the horror.

Thanks for loving this interview, m'dear.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

You had excellent taste in literature, SilentReed, as a child. Most discriminating of you to prefer

swashbuckling Robin Hood and Maid Marian, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and even Tom Sawyer and his rascal friend, Huck Finn.

Much better choices, m'dear, than the devastating tales of the Grimm Brothers and others of their ilk.

Didn't those long-ago authors realize that the allegorical aspects of these evil personalities were lost on children?

So those evil creatures are lurking today in your mind? That definitely has the makings of a substantial suit. Too bad that the instigators are long gone from this earth. How about the publishers?


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks, Nell, for loving this interview and finding it brilliant. You are SO perspicacious! It is strange how most of us as mothers with intellect have shared these morbid, sometimes terror-filled tales with our innocent children.

If a film were produced today featuring an evil witch attempting to bake children in an oven, I doubt that we would want our children to view it. But fairy tales - that's a different matter. That IS psychotic.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, b. So 'Grimm's Fairy Tales' scared the HELL out of you as a child? And 'The Little Match Girl' tale that you mentioned - that was the saddest story I ever heard. Do you s'pose our parents were trying to punish us?

So happy that this version was not too scary for you and fun to read. Thank you, m'dear, for your most gracious comments. Are you safely ensconced back in sunny Florida now?


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

So sorry, Ruby, you are turning down that great trip to some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. How about if I throw in a side visit to the tallest building in the world in Dubai? Ciao for now.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

What an interesting supposition, nicomp. There were evil stepmothers in most of the famous fairy tales of old. Love how you describe them with stiletto heels. Maybe it was a plot device that the Grimms and others just could not ignore. Thank you for that most penetrating observation.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

You are so right, Colin, Hansel and Gretel in that first photo look not only slightly addled, but also a bit smashed. Some of those berries they ingested in the forest must have been slightly fermented.

How I love to read your superlative comments: 'true legend ... on the Hub Wall of Fame ... world class presentations' etc. You do know the right things to say, my friend.

Then you follow that up with 'charm ... world class entertainment ... witty enlightenment ... very own unique style.' It is my pleasure to visit you, m'luv, and be visited by you. Trust me.

Thank you for your solicitous query. I am fine - just away on a cruise for a week - part business but mostly pleasure. Give my regards to Little Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel and of course, yourself.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

How nice to see you here, Dex. Missed you. Yes, even those many of those children's fairy tales were grim and scary, they did for the most part have happy endings: the Woodcutter saved Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Snow White married their Prince Charmings, and Hansel and Gretel became entrepreneurs - at least in my version.

Thanks for loving this, m'dear.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas

Me thinks the old witch and the step-mother were one in the same and the Grimm's used that as a symbol that evil resides in the heart thus when the witch cooked in the oven, the wicked step-mother fell ill and died. That was a cliffhanger this time! LOL! ~WB


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Now that was a really perceptive comment, Wayne. You would make a FINE prosecuting attorney. The two Grimm Brothers were sorta nefarious-looking so I wouldn't be surprised if they had that plot twist in mind. Makes one think, doesn't it. Thanks for riding by, m'dear.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 3 years ago from Tennesee

Adorable drbj, lol!

I'm like Wayne Brown, though, even as a kid I figured the evil witch and the step-mother were the same person.

And well now you have me hankering for gingerbread, sigh.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, beth - if you are like Wayne then you are also extremely perceptive and imaginative. But you knew that. Thanks for stopping here but watch your gingerbread ingestion - one never know!


bethperry profile image

bethperry 3 years ago from Tennesee

What a huge coincidence, drbj - at the time I was commenting my hubby was out getting gingerbread cookies! And we haven't had gingerbread in a long time, so whoa :)


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Yo, beth - Has your hubby returned from the store yet which is on the other side of the FOREST??? Just wonderin'.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 3 years ago from Tennesee

Oh yeah, he brought back a big flask of Jagermeister and a new peppermint roof to replace the one that got eaten. I assume those Jehovah's Witnesses were hungry when they stopped by...but I reckon we'll never know for sure now. But at least the two of us will stay warm tonight!

;)


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

Hansel and Gretel is one of my favorite story since from childhood. I really enjoy the interview here. Again, you never fail to astound, amaze, and make one stop and think...how you can do this very well? Thanks for share with us. Voted up!

Prasetio


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Well, at least you will not have to worry about evil witches for a long, long time, Beth. Saw 'Hansel and Gretel Witch-Hunters' at the movies yesterday and all those mean sons-of-witches were dispatched (with as much gore as possible) by Jeremy Renner (Hansel) and Gemma Aterton (Gretel). Avoid if possible!


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

So you are familiar with Hansel and Gretel on your side of the world as well, pras? In answer to your question, 'how can I do this very well,' I think the answer might be to have a wild imagination and limitless courage to publish said product.

Would you agree? Thanks for stopping by, m'dear.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

I would agree with you, my friend. You still the best and I always admire all your works here. God bless you :-)

Prasetio


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, pras, my Indonesian BFF. God bless you, too.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 3 years ago from UK

I too read the original Grimms version when I was little and it taught me how cruel the 'fairy tale' world could be. Your interview as always are topical and tantalising. Love the interplay of the 'know it all' Hansel and the semantics loving Gretel. Thanks for the top notch entertainment, drbj.


Phoebe Pike 3 years ago

I love this! Your write interviews so well.

I love the Grimm Brothers' stories. I know they were violent, but they were also very interesting and exciting. It gave the fairytales more depth than the typical "happily ever after" endings we have come to expect today. I think a little more true, if you think about it. Not everyone can have a happy ending and I think it's important to let our children know we have to make our own happiness even in the face of famine and fear.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Docmo, for your much-appreciated visit and for perceiving my interpretation of the personality dynamics between Grimm's two siblings. (Those differences struck me when I first viewed the top photo.) Delighted you found this entertaining.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Phoebe, for loving this interview. I have always been fascinated by the horror and violence in those early fairy folk tales. I suspect those components may have been inserted as some sort of object lessons for youngsters. But I think small children are easily frightened by such lessons and prefer relating stories with happier themes. Just sayin'.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Maybe it is a supernatural power or only hubpages erratic maintenance schedule but I tried to leave a comment before but hubpages closed down when I tried to post it.

Anyhow, I tend to subscribe to a contrary point of view on children's literature that was put forth by G.K. Chesterton. He contended that scary stories are part of children's literature that goes beyond the fairy tales, such works as Tom Sawyer with a scary cave, Robinson Crusoe, I believe and others. His philosophy on the subject is that the world is a scary place to children who see grown ups as giants etc. The story gives them a way to cope with the giants and witches and all.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Sorry that HP gave you such problems, Don. That supernatural power gets out of hand at times.

I can understand Chesterton's point of view, but do not subscribe to it. Scary stuff within reason, yes, but Grimm's Tales for the most part are much too filled with horror and gore for very young children to easily assimilate without potential repercussions. Just sayin', y'know.


J Rocco 3 years ago

Yeah Loved your take on this story. Another super job. I agree we should call you Dr. Humor. BTW. you will never be older than Soil. You have on e of the greatest minds I know.

Loved the Hub.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks for loving the Hub, J Rocco. With comments like yours, you know that I LOVE you! Trust me. And regarding the Dr. Humor appellation, my business card now carries the legend, "Mirthologist."


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

Many of the old fairy tales are quite scary. i love the way you used Betty White as the witch - she'd put her whole heart into it. I had great fun reading your interview. Up and awesome.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, KKGals. Thanks for having fun with Hansel and Gretel. You are so right - Betty White would have been hysterical as the witch. Thank you for the visit, m'dear, and the up and awesome. So are you!


precy anza profile image

precy anza 3 years ago from San Diego

I used to read this story when I was a kid and feels like I was taken to a magical, but scary land because of that witch. And because of your interview, now I know Hansel and Gretel was led to the forest twice. Voted up!


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

That was an excellent description, precy, of how Grimm's original fairy tale must have appeared to children - very scary with an evil witch! Thanks for the visit m'dear, and the Up!

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