“This fairy tale might be based on memories of the Great Famine of 1315 â€“ 1322, which caused millions of deaths by starvation in Northern Europe. Catastrophic weather patterns produced greatly diminished yields in crops. The resulting calamity hit all echelons of society and many incidents of child abandonment and cannibalism have been documented by the chroniclers of the times.
Into this grim landscape come the innocent children, who are fully attuned to the gravity of their situation. Stripped of the protection and security offered by a properly functioning family, the children must make their own decisions and define their own survival plans. HÃ¤nsel tries to take charge and protect his sister. He comforts the crying Gretel and assures her that God will not abandon them..” more