At the peak of their childhood, a great famine struck the country where Hansel and Gretel lived. It left the rich secluded from the middling and poor classes; the merchant class fought to survive; and the poorest of the poor plummeted into utter starvation. The woodcutter and his wife, along with Hansel and Gretel eventually struggled to stay fed.
The reoccurring moments of starvation gradually caused the woodcutter’s wife to go insane. One evening, after Hansel and Gretel had been tucked in bed, the woman approached her husband.
“We must survive the upcoming winter… We must…” she started. “We cannot feed everyone in this small house… We cannot…”
“Well, what are we to do?” the woodcutter asked.
“We must leave the children alone in the wooded forest. That way we will only have to feed ourselves,” she replied.
“If we leave them there, they will surely starve!” he cried.
“And if we keep them here, we will all surely starve,” she replied.