By the Grimm Brothers
Once upon a time, there was a woman named Gretel who worked as a cook. A man hired her to cook all his meals for him at his home. He was a good boss to Gretel, so she enjoyed her job—especially when she got to taste a little bit of the food she made. Of course, every good cook needs to taste the food they make to be sure it tastes good.
One morning, Gretel’s boss told her, “I invited a guest for dinner this evening. Could you please roast two chickens for us?”
“Yes, sir, of course,” answered Gretel. She started preparing the dinner right away. When it was getting close to dinner time, she put the two chickens on the fire to roast. After a while, the chickens started to turn brown. They were almost finished cooking, but the guest hadn’t arrived yet.
“What should I do?” Gretel asked her boss. “The chickens are almost finished, but the guest isn’t here. I don’t want to keep the chickens cooking over the fire too long, or they will burn. And the chickens will be perfectly juicy and delicious right after they finish cooking. We can’t wait too long to eat.”
“You’re right,” her boss said. “I’ll go out and get him. Maybe he forgot about our dinner.” So he went outside to find his guest.
Soon after her boss left the house, Gretel took the two chickens off the fire. She set them on a plate and looked at them—they were perfectly brown, and they smelled amazing.
“I should probably taste just a little bit,” Gretel thought to herself. “I need to see if I should add more salt or pepper.”
She tore off a little bite of chicken with her fingers and put it in her mouth. It was perfect and delicious!
As Gretel waited for her boss to return home, she stared at the chickens on the table. Then she looked outside the window. She didn’t see her boss or the guest coming.
Gretel thought, “One of the wings on that chicken looks a little bit burnt. Maybe I should eat it.” So she cut off the wing and ate it.
When she finished eating it, she realized, “My boss will notice if only one wing is missing. I should probably eat the other wing, too, so it will look normal.” So Gretel took off the other wing and ate it, too. It was delicious!
Gretel looked out the window again, but she didn’t see anyone coming. “Maybe they decided to go out to a restaurant,” Gretel thought. “Maybe they’re not coming here anymore.”
She looked at the chicken. It would be sad to waste such a delicious chicken. And it was already missing two wings. So Gretel took out her fork and knife, and she ate the whole chicken. It was amazing!
Gretel went back to the window and looked outside. There was still no sign of her boss and the guest. Then she looked at the other chicken that was still sitting on the table.
She thought to herself, “These two chickens belong together! I cooked them together, and they need to be together. Since I ate the first one, I should eat the second one, too.”
So Gretel ate the second chicken.
Just as Gretel finished eating the last bite of the chicken, her boss returned home.
“Gretel,” he said. “My guest is coming in a few minutes. He’s on his way here. Is the dinner ready?”
“Yes, of course. It’s ready!” Gretel said.
Her boss picked up a knife in the kitchen and started sharpening it so he could cut the chickens.
There was a knock on the door, and Gretel ran to open it. She saw the guest, and she told him quietly, “Run away! Run away! My boss is a crazy man! He invited you here for dinner, but really, he wants to cut off both of your ears and eat them for his dinner! Listen, he’s sharpening his knife right now.”
The guest heard the sound of the knife being sharpened, and he was terrified. He turned around and ran away as fast as he could.
Then Gretel ran to her boss and said, “The man you invited is very rude! I had both of the chickens on a big plate, and he grabbed the chickens and ran away with them!”
Her boss got very angry. “I wish he had at least left one chicken for me to eat!” he said. He went outside and started chasing the guest, with his knife still in his hand.
“Only one! Only one!” the man yelled.
The guest thought the man meant that he only wanted to cut off one of his ears. So the guest ran and ran as fast as he could, until he got home and locked himself inside.