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Synopsis: Hansel and Gretel

Act I, Scene 1
In Hansel and Gretel’s house 
Hansel complains he is hungry. Gretel shows him some milk that a neighbor has given for the family’s supper. The children dance. Their mother returns and wants to know why they have gotten so little work done. She accidentally breaks the jug of milk and sends the children out into the woods to pick strawberries. Their father, a broom-maker, returns home very happy and quite tipsy. He brings out the food he has bought, then asks where the children have gone. The mother tells him that she has sent them into the woods. He tells her about the Witch who lives there and says that the children are in danger. They go out into the woods to look for them.

Act I, Scene 2
Hansel picks strawberries. The children hear a cuckoo singing and eat the strawberries. Soon they have eaten every one. In the sudden silence of the wood, Hansel admits to Gretel that he has lost the way. The children grow frightened. The Sandman comes to bring them sleep, sprinkling sand over their eyes. The children say their evening prayer. In a dream, they see 14 angels. 

Act II
The Dew Fairy comes to waken the children. Gretel wakes Hansel, and they see the gingerbread house. They end up meeting the Witch in person and she decides to fatten Hansel up and casts a spell on him. The Witch asks Gretel to look in the oven and she pretends she doesn’t know how: the Witch must show her. When the Witch peers into the oven Hansel and Gretel shove her inside and shut the door. The gingerbread children come back to life. The mother and father find their children, and all express gratitude for their salvation.