He held his sack of skipping stones tight as he approached his mother.
“Times are tough, my dear children. We must venture into the forest to help your father with his work,” she declared.
“But –” both children started.
“No 'buts'!” their mother scolded.
And so, Hansel, Gretel, and their mother journeyed into the thick-wooded forest. It was as eerie as thick fog on a stormy night: the sky was a dark grey, and the trees were black and gloomy.
Luckily, Hansel had remembered to drop the shimmering stones on the ground every few feet – so that they could follow them back on their return home.
“Hansel, what is it that you think you’re up to?” their mother shouted impatiently.
“Mother! Mother! Look at those squirrels in the tree. I swear they are dancing as if they are fit for the ball!” Gretel called, using her quick-wit in order to distract their mother.
Gretel knew exactly what Hansel was up to. She pieced it together as she watched her mother's face scrunch up.