The internal-affairs division of Fairy Tales Inc. has reviewed the Hansel and Gretel case, and has identified the following areas for improvement:

  • We identify the triggering incident to be the woodcutter taking a second wife, and find that neither side did sufficient research: the new wife should have been made aware of the presence of children in the house prior to marriage, and the woodcutter would have benefited from discerning her feelings toward stepchildren before committing to the relationship.

  • The stepmother’s reaction to the children was entirely disproportionate to the perceived infraction. Justifying documentation being lacking, we simply note that the pretext for abandoning them in the woods appeared to be flimsy at best. Additionally, abandonment in the forest is not a recognized form of administrative discipline. Please require the stepmother to familiarize herself with the appropriate sections of her handbook.

  • Hansel, in particular, showed inconsistent decision-making abilities. He is to be commended for initially ferreting out the stepmother’s scheme and bringing himself and his sister home safely. However, the benefits of these actions were subsequently compromised by his rather poor decision to allow the stepmother to attempt abandoning the children in the forest a second time. Based on this, we suspect an emotional disorder of some kind, and are recommending immediate evaluation.

  • Both Hansel and Gretel should be disciplined as soon as possible for the severe ethical violation of eating a stranger’s house. The more troubling aspects of this incident appear to have been triggered by this act, and it has irreparably harmed what could have been a profitable partnership. Though both parties are guilty of overreacting (enslaving and planning to eat the children because of some nibbled siding seems at best excessive), the children bore a responsibility to make a fair and just recompense for their violation. That they not only failed to do this but in fact turned around and murdered their victim forces us to conclude that both Hansel and Gretel should be placed on unpaid leave until such time as a staff psychiatrist certifies them fit to return to the story.

  • Your prompt attention to these matters is appreciated.