Hansel & Gretel: Did you know?

1. The origins of the Hansel and Gretel story are unclear, but it was first published in 1812 as part of Kinder-und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales), which has become known as Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm made changes in the story, and many others, in later editions, but many elements were there from the beginning – the poor parents, the children abandoned in the forest, the trail of breadcrumbs, the magical edible house and of course, Gretel’s triumph over the evil witch.

Image credit: Margeaux Lucas

2. In the original story, the family is made up of Hansel and Gretel, and both the children’s true father and mother. Over time, as the story has been passed on, it was unbelievable that a mother could leave her own children in a forest to fend for themselves, and so the character of a mother transformed to an evil stepmother. In the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s story, we’ve used the original characters, but don’t worry, the children end up in the forest in a far less sinister way.

3. This fairytale is much less stereotypical than the common princess in distress, waiting for her prince in shining armour to come to the rescue. Instead the heroine in this story is Gretel!

Thanks to the sources below for helping us with these facts:

Kate G. Jameson
Cela Day

Our leading partners