The story of Hansel and Gretel illustrates the importance of realizing that things are not always as they seem. This concept is one that is stressed often through saying such as “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. The fact of the matter is, what looks very bad to someone may in fact be good, while something that looks very good may be bad. This story deals with the latter concept. In the story of Hansel and Gretel, the two children encounter things that seem to be good, but are actually evil things in disguise. In the story is a lesson for children to not always trust what they see.
After getting lost in the woods and night coming upon them, Hansel and Gretel are very hungry. The children eventually find a cottage made of candy in the middle of the woods! To a kid’s mind, this is a huge treasure, and how could anything be bad about it? Yet the candy facade of the exterior of the house belies what is inside. Then the witch comes out and brings Hansel and Gretel inside.
The candy outside of the house is just a lure to get kids to come towards it so that the witch could get them inside. She provides them with a delicious feast…seemingly endless amounts of whatever they’d like to eat. She seems nice enough. However, that could not be further from the truth. Rather than being a nice lady who is feeding two lost and hungry children, the witch plans on fattening up the children to eat them.
Have a discussion with your kids or students about other things that may seem good or tempting but are actually bad. For example, candy. Ask students what is good about candy and what is bad. Another example for children may be a “friend” who actually isn’t a good friend because they are a bad influence. There could also be situations that seem good but are really not, such as if a group of kids are doing some activity that seems fun, yet is really dangerous (a good example would be one of the many unsafe “challenges” popularized by social media such as the cinnamon challenge). Discuss with your child or students ways that they can evaluate a situation to know the risks of a situation. Going back to the story of Hansel and Gretel, have them think over the story and point out a moment or two in the story where Hansel and Gretel should have evaluated the situation better and left while they had the chance, before the witch trapped them.