Hansel and Gretel
Hansel put wood above the princess, and a tarp above it that was tied usually to avoid anything falling over. “Don’t speak until I tell you we’re safe.” With that Hansel went down the path to his home, making sure that the wood was in a safe position at all times to not harm the princess.
Guinniverre had heard of the protection of the Rhioninians. They were fairies. She was convinced Hansel must have been sent from a fairy, or perhaps he was a guardian angel. It was hard to tell, but the fact was he had saved her life.
It was a long ride of silence and bumps. It reminded her of before the invasion. Everything was fine, she was learning how to speak and to do things. She was frequently in her mother’s lap, or with her servant reading a story. It started with her father having to leave frequently for discussions, and now it had evolved to the kingdom in ruins and her parents dead. She began to cry quietly, as she mourned those she missed. For a split second she was roaming the battlefield again. Even worse, in front of her father’s lifeless face. She’d do anything for one of her mother’s lullabies right now, her warm embrace, even to pet her soft cat! It was a hard truth, and still Hansel was from the land that won against them.
She was with an enemy going to enemy territory. Would she be turned in? Fear overcame her as she thought of escape plans. It would be hopeless. She held the carved bark, her only promise of safety. She looked over at the darkness around her with only small shreds of light coming through. With each bump she feared the wood would fall and she’d be crushed. She waited and soon she began to hear more noise as they approached a road and the ride became smoother. Finally after some turns it stopped. There was silence and far away chatter and horses. There were some steps.
“Give me a few minutes, no one can see us.” Hansel whispered softly as he left. There was a clinking of chain and then a loud boom! Oh no. chains- war. He had betrayed her, she’d be a prisoner of war! Of course, he was poor and wanted to turn her in for a sum of money! Guinniverre’s anxiety began to rise. There was another boom. “I’m throwing the wood into storage, in the back is a hole to pull logs from the inside. You should be able to crawl through it. No one will see you that way, I promise. When I start to take the ones on top of you, I need you to get inside as fast as you can.” Guinni’s panic softened. Okay, he did have a plan to avoid others seeing her. She did as he was told, startled when the door behind her shut leaving her in complete darkness.
Once again panic enveloped Guinniverre, unable to tell where the door was. She crawled past wood in confusion hoping she wasn’t making too much noise. Then some light poured in. A voice guiding her. It was gentle, and almost calming.
“Guinniverre, this way…” Finally with all the outside doors locked, Guinniverre fell on the ground shaking in tears. Hansel held her close rocking her softly, which made her crying quieter. “Guinniverre, I promise I will protect you, but right now we don’t have much time.” Guinniverre stood up, struggling to remain calm. “I’ll comfort you, I promise.” He took the bark and held it to her heart, kneeling down to face her and kiss her forehead. “I promise.” He repeated.
Guinniverre looked at him, eye to eye. At least, she was trying to observe him, his curly hair was in the way of his eyes. She took a deep breath wiping her cheeks, and then taking a pearl hair holder from one of her hair rolls to tie his hair up so he could see a bit. Hansel was startled before at her, smiling. “heh, Grazie, I’m going to have to take these off soon but I’ll keep them on as much as I can. Now come.” Hansel led to her to a large bucket of muddy water. She looked up at him confused. “You’re wearing Rhioninian perfume. We need to get it off.” He stated in an overly casual manner.
“This is your- bath?” Hansel crossed his arms gently. “It’s a wonderful bath!” Guinniverre corrected before waiting to be prepared for her bath. Hansel looked at her standing there. “Go.” She then took her clothes off herself and got in.
“I need you to take the scent off. Your new name will be Gretel-“
“I like Avive-“
“That’s Rhioninian.” Hansel explained. “We need you to not be Rhioninian. I’m going to dress you in chicken feed, and I need you to not speak with others until you can adapt to our accent okay? It’s for safety, I promised I’d take care of you.” Guinniverre was still adjusting. This was so quick! But she obeyed. Hansel left coming back with a few things. One was a box, where he put her clothes and jewelry, hiding the box under the floor boards temporarily. Then he returned and sniffed her, before he spread some more dirt on her causing her to splash more water on him in annoyance.
He wiped his face. He was beginning to doubt his plan. Guinniverre was royalty, to be even fairer, young, immature spoiled royalty, could they pull this off? “Guinni!” he whisper shouted. “Everyone outside wants to kill you in case you’ve forgotten! I need you to work with me! I don’t care how disgusting or different it is.” At this Guinniverre backed up a little. He almost acted like a big brother who was scolding her. She didn’t cry but rather stayed still as he undid her hair, dirtying it and tangling it. Finally he observed her looking out the window quickly.
“We’re running out of time. Quick put on the dress.”
“What dress?” Guinniverre asked confused. Hansel rushed towards her pulling the chicken bag on her, with the holes he had ripped apart. “This?” she asked in shock before receiving a stern look. Hansel pulled her outside. “What about shoes?”
“no shoes!” he answered quickly as he freed his hair and shoved the pearls and ribbon in his pocket. “I need you to run in the dirt for me. Again and again. And remember what I said about talking, no matter what. No speaking!” Finally, Hansel rushed back getting the bath water and throwing it at Guinniverre’s feet, causing her to slip and fall in the mud. She looked up at him before wailing. He was so mean! Hansel heard a familiar cart in the distance. “stay-“ he said with a finger to his lip before rushing up the road leaving Guinniverre on her own.
“Papa! Papa!” Hansel rushed in distress causing the cart to stop. His father was alarmed by the panic. “I came home and put the wood back, I was getting the water for our bath when I found a little girl! She’s so young! I think she’s been abandoned, she wont speak or say a word!” Hansel’s eyes watered. “I think her parents left her, and she’s younger than me when mo=am-“ He stopped, tears flowing down his cheeks before he ran back to Guinni, I didn’t know what to do!”
“Hansel! Slow down!” He understood his son’s alarm. Even more so when he saw the girl just lying there in the mud. “My dear, are you alright?” He asked softly pulling her up. She said nothing, but continued to tear up in fear. Was she okay? No, of course she wasn’t okay. She was in enemy territory, they wanted her dead, and now she was dressed in dirt and rags. “Where are your parents?” Nothing. The woodcutter remembered his son when he had lost his mother to the fire. He didn’t speak and refused to speak for long while. The wood cutter didn’t know who or where this girl was from, but she was pulling at his heart strings.
“Papa- please. I want to help her- We need to help her! “ The woodcutter took a loud exhale in thought.
“Hansel we don’t-“
“I’ll share with her my dinner tonight, and I’ll work harder to earn more tomorrow.” He interrupted emotionally.
“Okay Hansel- Okay. for tonight, until we find what happened and where she belongs.”
Hansel held Guinniverre close. “You’ve must’ve been through some pretty awful things, but its okay. You can cry on me… You’re safe now.” With that Guinniverre broke down. Finally fully letting the day’s events out in tears as she held on to Hansel. He was right. She was alive under a roof and would even get dinner. He had kept his promise.