YDS-2018-Spring-04

April 1, 2018 ÖSYM | osym
~1 mins

The story of Hansel and Gretel, in which two children outsmart a witch who is about to destroy them, was passed down to us from the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. They began recording various folk tales told to them by villagers and farmers near the town of Kassel, Germany, in about 1807. Hansel and Gretel was told to the brothers by a young girl, Doretchen Wild, who years later became Wilhelm Grimm's wife. The fairy tale gained wide popularity after German composer Engelbert Humperdinck made it the basis of a children's opera, first introduced in Munich in 1893. However, the opera, as well as subsequent versions of the story, omits the most traumatising aspect of the traditional tale: the parents’ deliberate abandonment of their children to the wild beasts of the forest. Another important feature of Hansel and Gretel is that it was not only known through German oral tradition. A version circulating in France as early as the late 17th century had a house made not of gingerbread but of gold and jewels, in which a young girl is held by a giant whom she eventually pushes into his own fire. However, it was the Grimm brothers who immortalised the tale for future generations – an excellent story that every child throughout the world should come across.