Hansel and Gretel's parents were so poor that they couldn't afford to feed their children any more. So the parents plotted to take them out into the woods and leave them there. Hansel, overhearing them, contrived to fill his pockets with pebbles, and left a trail behind them the next day. That night, as the parents again plotted to leave their children in the woods, Hansel found the door securely barred. He tried to mark a trail with breadcrumbs, but the birds ate them.
Lost in the woods, the children found a cottage made out of gingerbread, and being hungry, they immediately tried to make a meal of it. The witch who lived in the cottage enticed them inside, and made them prisoners, planning to eat them when they were fat enough. She kept Gretel as a servant, and put Hansel in a cage.
Every night, the witch would ask Hansel to put out his finger so she could feel it and see if it was fat enough yet. Every night, Hansel would put out an old chicken bone instead, and the short-sighted witch was fooled.
One day, tired of waiting, the witch made a huge fire in the oven, and went to make Hansel get into it. Hansel, pretending to be stupid, asked her to show him what to do. When she opened the oven door, he pushed her in, and slammed the door shut. The witch was burned to death.