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Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel lived with their father in a small cottage in the woods. They were poor, but happy.

One day, their father gave them each a piece of bread for a snack. “Go into the woods and collect lots of berries,” he said.

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The children wandered the forest and picked berries until their pails were full. As the sun went down, the two realized they were lost.

“How will we get back?” asked Gretel.

“Don’t worry,” Hansel said. “I left a trail of bread crumbs for us to follow home.”

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The children searched the ground for Hansel’s trail of crumbs. All they saw were birds pecking at the ground.

They wandered the forest all night trying to find their way home.

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The next morning they were tired and hungry. “This is hopeless,” cried Gretel.

They walked a little farther and came upon a cheerful cottage. It was made of gumdrops, gingerbread, chocolate, and other tasty candies. The children ran to the house and began eating bits of the windows and walls.

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An old, blind woman opened the door. “My my, is that the sound of hungry little children nibbling on my house?” she asked. “Come inside and I will make you a proper meal.”

The children went into the house. The woman fed them cakes and pies and other sweet things.

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After Hansel and Gretel ate, the woman led them to two soft beds. They fell fast asleep.

“Those pesky children,” the woman said. “How foolish of them to eat the house of a witch! I will teach them!”

The witch snatched Hansel from his bed and locked him in a large metal cage.

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The witch then woke Gretel.

“You silly girl!” said the witch. “From now on you are to prepare meals for your brother. Children are my favorite dinner, but your brother is far too thin. He must eat more.

Gretel had to obey the witch until she could get Hansel out of the cage.

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Every night the old blind witch told Hansel to stick his finger through the metal bars. She wanted to feel his finger, to see if he was getting fatter.

But Hansel was smart. Instead of putting his finger through the bars, he held out a chicken bone.

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Day after day, Hansel fooled the witch. But the witch grew tired of waiting. One day, she called Gretel into the kitchen.

“Girl, go see if the oven is hot,” said the witch. “Today I am cooking your brother.”

“But how do I check the oven?” said Gretel.

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“You stupid girl,” said the witch. “Open the door. Look into the oven, like this.”

The witch opened the oven door and bent over. Gretel quickly ran across the room. She pushed the witch into the oven and shut the door!

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Gretel rushed to the cage and freed her brother Hansel.

The children then searched the witch’s home. In the drawers they found gold coins and jewels. They filled their pockets with the treasure and ran from the witch’s house as fast as they could.

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After much wandering, Hansel and Gretel found their way home. They rushed inside and jumped into their father’s arms.

Thanks to the evil witch’s treasure, the family was no longer poor. The children and their father lived happily ever after.

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FAZ Reading Level Detail

Lexile Score 560
Word Count 548
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