When they awoke it was dark night and Gretel began to cry and said, »How shall we ever get out of this wood?« Hänsel comforted her saying, »Wait a little while longer, until the moon rises, and then we can easily find the way home.«
And when the full moon got up Hänsel took his little sister by the hand and followed the way where the pebbles shone like silver, and showed them the road. They walked on the whole night through and at the break of day they came to their father's house. They knocked at the door and when the wife opened it and saw that it was Hänsel and Gretel she said, »You naughty children, why did you sleep so long in the wood? We thought you were never coming home again!« But the father was glad, for it had cut him to the heart to leave them both in the woods alone.
Not very long after that there was again great scarcity in those parts, and the children heard their mother say at night to their father, »Everything is finished up; we have only half a loaf, and after that the tale comes to an end. The children must be off; we will take them farther into the wood this time, so that they shall not be able to find the way back again; there is no other way to manage.« The man felt sad at heart, but the wife would listen to nothing that he said, but scolded and reproached him. He who says A must say B too, and when a man has given in once he has to do it a second time.
But the children were not asleep and had heard all the talk. When the parents had gone to sleep Hänsel got up to go out and get more pebbles as he did before, but the wife had locked the door and Hänsel could not get out; but he comforted his little sister, and said, »Don't cry, Gretel, and go to sleep quietly, and God will help us.«
Early the next morning the wife came and pulled the children out of bed. She gave them each a little piece of bread—less than before; and on the way to the woods Hänsel crumbled the bread in his pocket and stopped often to throw a crumb on the ground.