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This article focuses on the fairytale, "Hansel and Gretel".
For the titular characters, see Hansel (True North), Gretel (True North) and Gretel (Sisterhood).

"Hansel and Gretel", also known as "Hänsel und Gretel", is a fairytale featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by the German authors Jacob and Wilhelm of the Brothers Grimm and incorporated into the book "Grimms' Fairy Tales" in 1812.

Traditional Plot

In a faraway kingdom long ago, a poor woodcutter lives in a small cottage with his second wife and his two children Hansel and Gretel. A great famine is plaguing the land and the Stepmother comes up with a plan that will leave the household with fewer mouths to feed. She tells her husband that he will take their children deep into the woods and leave them to fend for themselves. The woodcutter refuses to go through with the plan but agrees to go through with it after much persuasion.

However, Hansel and Gretel have overheard them from their bedroom, and create a plan to foil the stepmother's scheme. Late that night, Hansel sneaks out of the house and gathers bright white pebbles and returns to his room once he is finished collecting them all. He reassures the frightened Gretel that they will be able to return to the house.

The next day, the woodcutter takes the children deep into the woods. Unbeknownst to him, Hansel is leaving a trail of white pebbles as they walk. After the woodcutter abandons them, the children wait for the full moon to illuminate the pebbles. Following this trail, they return home safe and sound, much to their stepmother's horror.

A few weeks later, another famine hits the land and the stepmother commands her husband to take the two even further in the woods and leave them there. Once again, Hansel and Gretel overhear, but when they try to sneak out to gather pebbles, they find the doors locked and are unable to leave the house.

The next morning, the woodcutter takes them to the woods. This time, Hansel uses a trail of bread crumbs to use to get home. However, after they are abandoned, they discover that the animals of the forest ate all of the crumbs, and the two become lost in the woods. After many days of wandering, they spot a beautiful white bird and follow it.

The bird leads them to a large gingerbread house with many types of candy and sweets on it. Exhausted, the children begin to eat the house. A hideous old woman comes out and lures the children inside with promises of warm beds and a hot meal. However, what they do not know is that the old woman was actually a cannibalistic witch who cooked and ate little boys.

The next morning, the witch locks Hansel in a cage behind the house and forces Gretel into becoming a maid. She feeds Hansel daily to fatten him up, but whenever she tries to find out whether he is plump enough to eat, he gives her a bone that he found in the cage in his stead. Thus, the witch would think he was still too skinny to eat whenever she felt his finger, which was actually the bone. After many weeks of this, the witch grows impatient and decides to eat him.

As she prepares the cooking oven for Hansel, she decides that she is hungry enough to eat Gretel. She forces Gretel to stand in front of the open, roaring oven, and tells her to lean over to see if the fire is hot enough to cook Hansel. Gretel knows what the witch's intent is, however, and pretends to not understand what she means. The witch becomes angry and demonstrates.

As soon as she leans over, Gretel pushes her into the oven and locks the door, leaving the witch to be burned alive. Gretel frees Hansel from the cage, and together, they discover a secret room filled with riches. They put the treasure into their clothes and set off for home.

When they reach the house, they discover that their stepmother has died and that their father has spent his days mourning his children's deaths. When he sees them, he becomes happy again. The family becomes rich thanks to the witch's treasure and they all live happily ever after.

Show Adaptation

First Iteration

  • Gretel was the older sister of Hansel, when she is usually portrayed as the younger sister. They're also twins, as stated by Emma.
  • The Evil Queen sends the two to steal from the Blind Witch; they do not stumble upon her by chance.
  • The Blind Witch was young, not old, and held the poisoned apple that the Evil Queen uses to curse Snow White in her possession. Also, her story counterpart was not blind, but had bad eyesight.
  • The stepmother does not make an appearance, and the siblings' father is kidnapped by the Evil Queen.

Second Iteration

  • After their encounter with the Blind Witch, Hansel was driven insane and began wandering the realm under the alias Jack, while Gretel became a witch and opted to join the Coven of the Eight to defend herself against any future magic attacks, but was killed by an evil stepsister during her initiation.
  • The Blind Witch was a member of a sinister and powerful coven of witches, known as the Coven of the Eight.
  • Hansel is cursed to live as Nick Branson and begins murdering witches under the identity of the Candy Killer.

Characters Featured

Original Character Adapted as First Featured in
Hansel Hansel (True North) "True North"
Jack "Pretty in Blue"
Gretel Gretel (True North) "True North"
Gretel (Sisterhood) "Sisterhood"
Woodcutter Woodcutter "True North"
Stepmother Evil Queen (allusion) "True North"
The Witch Blind Witch "True North"
Hilda Braeburn "A Taste of the Heights"

Locations Featured

Original Location Adapted as First Featured in
The Gingerbread House Gingerbread House "True North"
Gingerbread House (mentioned) "Sisterhood"
Infinite Forest Infinite Forest "True North"


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