Then the door opened and an aged woman came out, leaning upon a crutch. Hänsel and Gretel felt very frightened and let fall what they had in their hands. The old woman, however, nodded her head, and said, »Ah, my dear children, how come you are here? You must come indoors and stay with me, you will be no trouble.« So she took them each by the hand and led them into her little house. And there they found a good meal laid out, of milk and pancakes, with sugar, apples, and nuts. After that she showed them two little white beds and Hänsel and Gretel laid themselves down on them, and thought they were in heaven.
The old woman, although her behaviour was so kind, was a wicked witch who lay in wait for children, and had built the little house on purpose to entice them. When they were inside she used to kill them, cook them, and eat them, and then it was a feast-day for her. When Hänsel and Gretel came into her neighbourhood, she gave a spiteful laugh and said triumphantly, »I have them, and they shall not escape me!«