What is the Moral of Hansel and Gretel

Moral: Do not trust Strangers

Hansel and Gretel is a popular fairy tale of German origins. It was recorded by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. First, let’s see what happens in this story. 

The Story of Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel were the children of a poor woodcutter. One day, the children’s stepmother persuaded her father to take the children and abandon them in the forest. The first time, Hansel leaves a trail of pebbles along the way and finds the way back. Next time, the father takes them deeper into the forest, and Hansel leaves breadcrumbs to find their way back. But when the children try to find their way back home they find that the birds have eaten the crumbs. So the children are lost in the woods.

They wander in the forest and soon discover a house made entirely of gingerbread and sweets. Hungry and tired, the children begin to eat the rooftop of the house when the door opens. An old woman – the owner of the house – kindly invites them inside. Not knowing that this old woman is a witch who built a gingerbread house to lure children into her trap. She imprisons Hansel and makes Gretel her slave. The old witch plans to eat both children.

What is the Moral of Hansel and Gretel

Do not trust Strangers

When the witch makes preparations to bake Hansel, she tells Gretel to start the fire. Gretel lies that she can’t tell if the fire in the oven has started. The witch shoves her aside and leans into the oven to check. Gretel pushes the witch into the oven and shuts the door, then she takes her brother out of the cage and escapes from the gingerbread house carrying lot food and precious jewels. When they reach home, their stepmother has died, and the father happily welcomes them back.

What is the Moral of Hansel and Gretel

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. To two starving children, a house made of gingerbread and candies may look like a piece of heaven, but entering the gingerbread house almost cost them their lives.

In addition, Hansel and Gretel escape from danger throughout this story by their own resourcefulness, not by some divine intervention. Many instances of this story illustrate the resourcefulness of the children. Hansel collecting pebbles and leaving a trail to find their way back shows the cleverness of Hansel. When the old witch asks him to put out his finger so she can check whether he is fat enough to cook, Hansel cleverly offers her a bone. This too is an indication of his quick mind. And Gretel has the quick wits to understand the witch’s plan and make a quick decision to use the same plan to kill the witch. So it is the children’s ability to think on their feet that save them.

Image Courtesy:

“Hansel and Gretel by Arthur Rackham.” (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.


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