[[caption-width-right:318:Hansel and Gretel meet the WickedWitch]]

A {{fairy tale}} originally recorded by the Creator/BrothersGrimm in 1812. It's in the PublicDomain, so here goes:

Once upon a time, there was a brother and sister named Hansel and Gretel. Their father was a widower who had remarried, and the family was having hard times. The stepmother insists they abandon the children in the woods and their father is spineless enough to go along with it. Hansel overhears the plan and comes up with the idea of leaving a TrailOfBreadCrumbs from the bread that was supposed to be their lunch, so they can come back; unfortunately, the birds eat all the crumbs, so by the time they decide to follow the trail home, there isn't one.

They wander around for a while, and then they find a GingerbreadHouse. They are very hungry, so they eat from it. The owner of the house, a WickedWitch, calls out that she knows ''someone'' is eating her house; Hansel and Gretel don't reply. [[RuleOfThree The third time]], the witch goes out to meet them. She seems surprisingly friendly, and gives them a huge feast.

The next day, Hansel is in a fattening pen, and Gretel is a servant. It seems that the witch [[ImAHumanitarian eats children, once they are properly prepared]]. There is a HappyEnding for Hansel and Gretel, of course... the witch asks Gretel to light the oven and Gretel pretends she can't. When the witch bends over to do it, Gretel [[HoistByHisOwnPetard kicks her into her own oven]].

There are television versions of this tale, but few film versions [[FamilyUnfriendlyViolence for reasons that should be clear.]]

The 19th century composer Engelbert Humperdinck adapted the fairy tale into an {{opera}} (premiered 1893). The opera in turn was adapted into a 1954 stop-motion animation film.

Garrison Keillor {{deconstruct|ion}}s this one, as well as "Literature/SnowWhite" and "Literature/{{Cinderella}}", in his short story "My Stepmother, Myself" in his book ''HappyToBeHere.''

There's a modern retelling set in WWII Poland where Hansel & Gretel are Jewish children; and that's all we're going to say about that.

The tale may have originated during the medieval period of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_of_1315-1317 Great Famine]] when people were driven to desperate measures. Children were abandoned to fend for themselves, and there were many reported incidents of cannibalism. Subsequent revisions of the story (such as changing the children's mother into their evil stepmother, and making the father more sympathetic) may have resulted from folk wanting to distance themselves from the true horror of that time.

!! "Hansel and Gretel" contains the following tropes:

* Literature/BabaYaga: The witch has many similarities with the Baba Yaga of Russian fairy tales. (In fact, Slavic retellings often make her be the witch the two meet.)
* BearsAreBadNews: One version has a grizzly bear as the BigBad instead of the witch.
* BigBad: The Witch.
* BrotherSisterTeam: Our heroes.
* CompositeCharacter: In some versions of the tale, after killing the witch, the children return home and are happily reunited with their father, when they find out that their wicked (step)mother has died too. This has lead some folklorists to speculate that the wicked (step)mother and the witch are in fact the same character. At least one Russian version has the stepmother and the witch be sisters.
* CreepyTwins: Hansel and Gretel, in the DarkerAndEdgier adaptations.
* DarkerAndEdgier:
** The {{Newgrounds}} series [[http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/515322 Gretel]] [[GretelAndHansel and Hansel]] is very, very creepy.
** Another popular subversion, notably used by SoundHorizon and a vocaloid video, is to have the Witch be perfectly innocent, and Hansel and Gretel simply too GenreSavvy for their own good. [[spoiler: Extra points go to the Vocaloid version, ''Moonlit Abandonment/Abandoned on a moonlit night'' for making the death of the witch a case DeathByIrony and LaserGuidedKarma with a simple trick: she and her husband were the ones sending the children away in the first place.]]
* DistressedDude: Hansel is locked up in a cage and fattened up to be eaten, and it's left to his sister to bail him out.
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath
* FatteningTheVictim: The witch uses her gingerbread house to lure children into her home in order to fatten and cook them.
* FauxAffablyEvil: The Witch, who pretends to be nice to Hansel and Gretel so that she can lure them into her house and ''eat'' them.
* GingerbreadHouse: TropeMaker ''and'' TropeCodifier. Although in some versions, it's made of bread, and in others, it's simply a house that the siblings recognize as occupied by smoke from the chimney, and are attracted to in an effort to beg for food, only to be caught.
* GuileHero: Both siblings use their smarts to outwit both their parents and the witch.
* HalfIdenticalTwins: Our heroes are often depicted as such, although it's not stated in the original tale if they're actually twins or not.
* HappilyEverAfter
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: The witch's death.
* ImAHumanitarian: The witch eats children.
* KillItWithFire
* LevelAte
* TheLostWoods
* MurderByCremation
* NoNameGiven: The parents and the witch. Though in Humperdinck's opera, the parents are Peter and Gertrud and the witch is Rosine Leckermaul (literally, "Rosina Tastymuzzle").
* TheNoseKnows: In many versions, the witch is nearly blind, but has a keen sense of smell that lets her detect prey from a distance.
* OffingTheOffspring: an implication often overlooked now, but obvious to folk at the time of the tale's origin is this: the woodcutter's wife can bear him more children once the famine has passed.
* ParentalAbandonment
* PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad: The ''SuperWhy'' version consisted of the kids eating the witch's roof, the witch going "how dare you eat my roof!", the heroes helping H&G say sorry, and the witch accepting the apology and giving them house-shaped cookies.
* RuleOfThree
* SugaryMalice: The witch.
* TemporaryBulkChange: Hansel fattens up rapidly over what appears to be just a few days.
* TrailOfBreadCrumbs: TropeNamer, TropeMaker ''and'' TropeCodifier, and possible UrExample, together with "Literature/HopOMyThumb".
** Though note that the breadcrumbs ''didn't'' work. The trail of stones is what did.
* WealthyEverAfter: They return with the witch's treasure.
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: In at least one version, Hansel and Gretel are escorted home by a magic duck...who the father then kills and cooks for dinner.
* WickedStepmother: In most versions of the tale. It's worth mentioning however that in the first edition version recorded by the Grimm brothers she was the kids' actual biological mother, and the father shares the blame for abandoning the children. Apparently some people found that too shocking, [[{{Bowdlerise}} so they changed it]].
** Averted in Humperdinck's opera, where she is once again the birth-mother. Though in the opera, she has no evil motive: she simply sends them out as an exasperated parent and they become lost by accident.
** As mentioned above, some Russian versions of the story have a pragmatic reason to have a WickedStepmother...she is the sister of the WickedWitch who marries widowed fathers so she can send her their children.
* WickedWitch