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Authors: Jenni James

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Sometime later, as they were preparing to leave, he said, “Once home, we need to get some salt into Pa so he can come back to us.”

She stepped toward him, focusing on his handsome grin. “Salt?”

“I will tell you as we ride. But first, I think I need another kiss.”

She gladly raised her mouth to his.


AFTER THEY MADE IT home, it was only a matter of a few hours to get Adale back in order and his mind fully functioning. He had been given such strong doses and was kept on such a continual need for more that they later found a drawer full of little vials for him to take while they were away. The witch had definitely thought of every detail.

Hansel and Gretel continued to stay in the cottage and look after him. It was nearly two more years before Adale noticed the blooming attraction between them, so oblivious to the idea was he. But once it was made known, it was only a matter of weeks before he had the couple married off and settled into the neighboring cottage Hansel had built some months before for himself, but never truly used since he was apt more often than not to be found in Gretel’s company, helping her in any which way she needed or desired—or arguing with her, of course.

They lived a very happy, simple life, something she glorified in doing. It was a dream of hers to have children, and so, when Jack was born and then Jill a few years later, she was thrilled beyond measure.

They were happy, precocious children, spending many hours exploring the woods and climbing all over the countryside looking for adventure. Hansel and Gretel taught them all they knew, allowing them to become quite fine adventure seekers in their own right. And of course, they made sure to relay the tale of the cunning witch who nearly ate them all.

Later in life, when Jill and Jack were nearly grown, Hansel and Gretel were given an opportunity to adopt an infant. Hansel looked into Gretel’s eyes and there was no hesitation. They said “Yes!” instantly, and then grinned to have found they were of the same mind.

Little Verity grew to be a beautiful young woman who captured the hearts of many of the village lads with her long, dark hair and rosy complexion, but she had the temperament of her loving mother and father and eventually settled down with a simple farmer like her pa to raise her own family like her ma.

And that is how the tale of Hansel and Gretel came to be—one Larkein princess who found herself quite distressingly on the grounds of the enemy, and a brave young farm boy who did all in his power to guarantee her safety.

With such a beginning, how could they not be destined for a happily ever after?




“WHAT DO YOU MEAN, she is gone?” Jack asked as he whirled around on his heel, his great brown overcoat flinging about with him. “What has been done to bring her back? Has anyone even attempted to call the authorities?”

The old woman wrung her hands nervously over her pump form. “We have! There was nothing they could do. We sent for you as soon as possible.”

Jack paused his pacing on the worn rug in the main cottage room of his dearest Rachel’s home. “So you mean to tell me that sometime last night, Miss Rachel,
Miss Rachel, was taken forcefully from her bedchamber by a great beast of a man, and none of you bothered to wake me up to attend this search of her?” He was livid. He was
than livid. He was terrified, heartbroken, worried out of his mind. “Why, it is nearly seven o’clock in the morning! This giant monster is hours ahead of us, and I am just now hearing of it.”

“We are sorry!” cried the man Jack had hoped to call a father one day. “We were not attending properly. All we could hear ringing in our minds was the memory of her screams of fright over and over again as he took her from us.”

Jack was going to be sick. He swallowed and breathed deeply before attempting to speak again. “I understand this house has been under great duress the past few hours, but you must know I love your daughter more than I love my own life. I am frantic with the need to rescue her at this moment. Please, I ask that you forgive my hastiness in chastising you at such a time and instead, give me any bit of information you can so I may bring my fiancée back. Anything at all.” He knelt before the older man and woman, still in their night attire with shawls and slippers. “ And I vow to you both that I will not give up my search for your daughter, unlike the authorities. I will not simply hear who has captured her and run in fear. Nay, I am yours, I am hers, and you
see her again or I will die trying to attempt the thing.”

“Oh, Jack! What would we do without you?” Mrs. Staheli clutched his hands, tugging him up. “Come and have a cup of tea and we will tell you all we know.”

He shook his head. “No. I would prefer to hear it all now, just as we are, so I may begin this search instantly.”

“Son, it is useless. The monster—the giant—he took her up in the clouds,” her father answered as he ran his hands through his hair.

“I beg your pardon—he took her where? No, wait. Start at the beginning and tell me everything you can of this giant and all that happened. I will see what is to be done.”

Celeste glanced over and shared a look with Hans.

Jack leaned toward the couple and tried his best not to let his growing irritation show upon his face as Hans cleared his throat. Why were these two moving so slowly? Every second wasted was a second he could be using to fetch Rachel back.

“It was quite late—nearly morning—when he came,” Hans started.

“Yes, I know this. Why did he abduct her? Did he say?”

Celeste clutched her shawl. “Yes! Yes, that is definitely something I can answer. He wanted her voice. Apparently, his ears picked up the sound of her humming and singing the other day while she was in the meadow picking those flowers.” She pointed over to a vase of wildflowers on the worn oak dining table. “He decided to bring her back to his castle so she would sing for him.”

“And he also mentioned something about her playing the harp for him,” Hans added.

“The harp?” Jack tried not to smile at the absurdity. “She does not do any such thing.”

“So she told the giant.” Hans folded his arms. “But he would not listen to her.”

“Why did he not take her when he had her alone in the meadow?” Jack asked.

“He did not say.”

“How did he get here? And you are certain he took her up to the sky?”

“Aye.” Hans unfolded his arms and then clasped his hands together. Jack noticed the slight tremor as Celeste hung on to her husband’s elbow. “We heard her shouts for help and came in the room immediately. The giant’s huge head peered into the windows. One long arm snaked in and captured her up in his palm. She tried to make him see reason and not take her from the house. I believe he is a bit dimwitted, as each time Rachel asked him a question, it slowed him down—he would stop and think about it and then answer her. It was a clever ploy and even we joined in until he caught on to what we were doing. Then he swung his arm out and brushed us both down before wrapping his fingers around her and sliding his hand through the window again. It was a tight fit and required precision to get his fist out.”

“What are some of the things he said?”

“Most of it you already know, like the fact that he was taking her up to his kingdom in the clouds where she was meant to live in a golden cage and sing for him, or play the harp. And how he had found her in the first place.”

“How did he get back up to his kingdom, and where did he come from? Has anyone heard of this giant before?”

“We had no idea he existed until he came for her.” Celeste brought her hand to her mouth. “So, so terrifying.”

“This is all baffling. No wonder the authorities are useless. Where does one begin? How does one get all the way up into the clouds to rescue her?”

Hans pulled away from his wife. “If you follow me outside, I can show you his tracks and where they lead. When we made it to the window and watched him take her away, it was as if the giant were climbing on something, but we could not make out what it was. Indeed, there was nothing to be seen there at all.”

“It was all so odd and confusing, and her cries could be heard for a long while in the still of the night. It was just too distressing for words,” Celeste added, her voice shaking.

Jack patted her hand and then nodded to Hans. “Let me follow you where the tracks lead. Perhaps I will find something then, something to make sense of this all.”

Hans paused at the door as he pulled on his outer coat. “Celeste, we will be back shortly.”

She shooed them away with her hand. “Yes, go. I could not bear to go out there again anyhow.”

As the men stepped outside, Jack was amazed to see that the giant’s footprints had formed twenty-foot craters all over the Stahelis’ garden as well as the road and up a small embankment about a half mile away. They did not need to travel that far to see the great indents he left.

“Are you sure that is where they stop, up there?” Jack pointed to the hill.

“Yes.” Hans turned and gestured toward the cottage. “And from that window just there—her bedroom window—is how we watched him make his way up an invisible rope or ladder of some sort, clear up into the clouds until they could not be seen anymore.”

Jack placed his hands on his hips and shook his head, his eyes scanning the sky above them.

His father and mother, Hansel and Gretel, had warned him that life was full of adventures and one day he would meet one that would change everything he had ever believed about himself. He sucked in a long breath of air. It would seem his particular adventure had met him after all.

There was a certain giant out there who needed to be introduced to the wrath of Jack.


Jenni James is the busy mom of seven rambunctious children ranging from the ages of 2-16. When she isn’t chasing them around her house in sunny New Mexico, she is dreaming of new books to write. She loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted at:
[email protected]
, or written to: Jenni James PO Box 514, Farmington, NM 87499. Jenni has several clean books for teens already published and many more to come, including:

Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection:

Beauty and the Beast

Sleeping Beauty



Jack and the Beanstalk

Snow White

Frog Prince

The Jane Austen Diaries:

Pride & Popularity

Northanger Alibi



Mansfield Ranch

Sensible & Sensational

Prince Tennyson

Revitalizing Jane

The Eternal Realm Series:


Hansel and Gretel

Jenni James © copyright 2013

All rights reserved as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

StoneHouse Ink 2013

StoneHouse Ink

Boise ID 83713

First eBook Edition: 2013

First Paperback Edition: 2013

Cover design by Phatpuppy Art

This book was professionally edited by Tristi Pinkston

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to a real person, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author.

Published in the United States of America

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BOOK: Hansel and Gretel
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