Short Reads

Shocking! “Hänsel und Gretel” is based on a true story.

The Grimm brothers are often praised for their imagination. We tend to forget how erudite they were. Who knows how many medieval chronicles they have read first hand?

Hansel & Gretel: witch hunters (2013). Promotion picture

Somewhere in 1438, bandits wandered around the city of Abbeville. As they sneaked in the middle of the night inside a house where a single woman lived in order to commit some crime, they fell upon children limbs that had been cut and salted. As they reported the crime, the woman was taken, put on trial and later on burned to death.

This anecdote is related by Enguerrand de Monstrelet, most known for his chivalric stories. I couldn’t find out if the Grimm brothers ever read his chronicle, but someone should certainly update the Wikipedia entry on child cannibalism! Eating children is not a Far East practice only. It happened in Europe too.

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