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KS3 English - Fairy tales: What's their story?: Hänsel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel & Gretel

Hansel and Gretel is a popular fairy tale of German origins. It was recorded by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. On this page you can find out more about the story of Hansel and Gretel.

The Story of Hansel and Gretel

You can read Grimm's version of Hansel and Gretel on the SurLaLune website.

History of Hansel and Gretel

The Sur La Lune website includes lots of information about Hansel and Gretel, including details of the history of the story.


You may find useful information here for your Hansel and Gretel timeline.

Hansel and Gretel and similar stories

This fairy tale website, compiled by Pittsburgh University, includes Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm version of Hansel and Gretel.


You can also find a number of fairy tales which are similar to the Hansel and Gretel story.


You may find useful information here for your Hansel and Gretel timeline.

Take part in our 'morals' poll...

Different people see different moral messages in the Hansel and Gretel tale, below are a few examples.

Think about the story of Hansel and Gretel, which of these do you think is the main moral lesson for this story?

You can overcome obstacles


Don't give up

Take part in our 'morals' poll...
Stand up for yourself in the face of a challenge and you can overcome obstacles.: 47 votes (28.31%)
Don't give up - persevere even when the odds are against you: 83 votes (50%)
Don't be greedy: 36 votes (21.69%)
Total Votes: 166

Elements of the Story

As explained in the Conventions of fairy tale section, a fairy story always includes a number of important elements.

In the story of Hansel and Gretel, these include:



In the Hansel and Gretel story the good characters are Hansel and Gretel.



The obvious bad character in this story is the witch who captures Hansel and Gretel.




Can you think of any supporting characters in this story?



One of the main features of this story is the magical house made of cake and candy.




A fairy tale usually includes an obstacle or task which the characters must tackle with to reach their happy ending.  Can you think of the obstacles which Hansel and Gretel have to overcome and any tasks they perform?



The children manage to get away and return to their father, the wood cutter, who is delighted to see them and they all live happily ever after...



This story teaches many lessons to children. But the most important lesson of all is not to trust strangers, even if they treat you well. The witch acts like a very kind old lady. She promises them delicious food and soft beds – this is why Hansel and Gretel go inside her house. It also teaches the lesson that things that look very good may be bad. This is the truth about the gingerbread house. In addition, Hansel and Gretel escape from danger throughout this story by their own resourcefulness, not by some divine intervention.


What do you think is the moral message of the Hansel and Gretel story?  Read some suggestions in the left hand column and then vote for the moral which you think is the main lesson of this tale.  When you have voted, have a look and see what other people think.

Hansel and Gretel Movies

Fifteen years after their traumatic gingerbread-house incident, siblings Hansel and Gretel have become a formidable team of bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world.

A ten minute clip from a movie, released in 1987, which shows Hansel and Gretel discovering the wicked witch and the house made of candy in the woods.