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What if “Hansel and Gretel” Were Based on Fact?

You may have heard about Hansel and Gretel and the “witch.” The story is a lie. It's a huge cover-up perpetrated by anti-Semites and began over 800 years ago. Here's the true history.

During the Middle Ages, when the Pope declared war on Muslims and compelled warriors to travel to the Holy Land to try and take back Jerusalem from Islamic control, one of the warriors was Rabbi Moisha Levi. He lived in southern Germany in the Black Forest with his wife Deborah Levi on a small plot of ground where they had a farm. Back then, Jewish ownership of land was rare. The ground was considered useless for farming, yet the Levis managed to survive.

Moisha decided to try and free Jerusalem from Islamic control for his people. But since Jews were being slaughtered by Crusaders, he feared he would be killed before leaving Germany. So he went over to the Holy Land as a knight and adopted Christian symbols and rituals hoping to be accepted by other Christians.

Moishe succeeded and was able to kill, according to a little-known legend, over 1,000 Muslims before he was captured and tortured to death. His circumcision betrayed him. He was staked out for three days and would have died sooner had it not been for a freak thunderstorm that provided him with some water which kept him alive a day longer than expected. But eventually he died and was virtually forgotten.

Back in Germany, Deborah didn't expect to see her husband again. So she decided to continue on the farm without him. She had two sons. One lived in Switzerland and was involved in banking, while the other lived in Italy and may have inspired Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. They sent money back to their mother to help her out, but she still needed help on the farm.

Deborah used to feed the birds and forest creatures by baking huge gingerbread cookies, which she placed on posts around her house. That's where the idea of her house being a gingerbread house came from. One day, three orphans came to her farm. When she saw them munching on the cookies, she took them in and fed them a decent meal. Two of the orphans were boys, whom she employed to help in the farming, and the girl was taught how to cook and sew.

After over a dozen children came to her farm — which by then was more like an orphanage — Hansel and Gretel arrived. They had been abandoned by their parents who couldn't afford to take care of them. They were discovered by Deborah feeding on the giant cookies and taken in to help on the farm.

Hansel became a talented metal worker while Gretel became an excellent cook. Deborah didn't pressure any of the children to convert to Judaism, because she knew being a Jew in a Christian region was practically forbidden. But she did teach Jewish traditions to those who were interested in her religion. Three of the boys were circumcised after they converted and wanted to become rabbis like her husband.

When the people in the nearby town discovered that three boys had been “bewitched” by Deborah and had turned against Christianity to embrace Judaism, they decided to go out to her farm and destroy her before she could commit more “evil.”

When men with torches arrived on the farm, Hansel and Gretel stood up for Deborah. They gathered the rest of the children around their beloved mistress in hopes that the men would leave after seeing their devotion. But it just enraged the men more. She was declared a witch and taken to one of the posts on which one of her giant cookies was secured and tied to it. When the three boys refused to denounce Judaism, they too were tied to posts. Wood was placed around Deborah and the boys and then lit. They were burned alive. That later was twisted by story tellers into her being thrown into the oven by Gretel and incinerated.

Hansel and Gretel tried to save Deborah and the three boys. But the men held them back. The bother and sister were eventually returned to their parents. The farm was torched and the rest of the children were scattered. Three of them walked to Switzerland to be with Deborah’s son Isaac. They managed to keep the true story about Deborah, Hansel, and Gretel alive, though few who aren't Jewish know about it. A model of the farm was built, but it has since disappeared, as has much of the evidence that would exonerate Deborah Levi.

A mysterious group that calls themselves Levites keeps the true story of Deborah Levi and her involvement with Hansel and Gretel alive. They serve giant gingerbread cookies that are nearly as large as manhole covers at their secret meetings.

One of their leaders who is nicknamed the Honey Bear due to his sweetness and bear-like body has constructed, to the best of his ability, a model of the farm and will show it only to those who can be entrusted with the facts about Deborah Levi and the famous pair Hansel and Gretel. He is a good friend of one of Deborah's descendants; Morris Levi. Morris nearly died from exhaustion when his Nazi captors forced him to do road work during the war.

Morris now lives quietly in Germany near where Deborah’s farm used to be located, but he has no intention on resurrecting the bitter memory of Deborah Levi in order to set the story straight concerning Hansel and Gretel and the woman people whom around the world consider a witch. She was a loving individual who wanted to teach the boys in her care how to work on a farm and in a shop and teach the girls in her care how to be wives by learning the wifely duties of sewing, cooking, and taking care of a house.

Deborah didn't live long enough to see any of the children marry or have children. But there were some Deborahs and Moseses born to some of the girls years later. Even Gretel gave birth to a Deborah when she was married to a merchant in the Netherlands.

Gretel opened a restaurant in Amsterdam and became the primary chef. Years later it became a chocolate house renamed the Wall since it was located near the sea wall in the city.

Humphry Dunkin who was a famous investment trader frequented the Wall. He was less than five feet tall, but he weighed over 300 pounds. During the mid-1600’s he started a trading operation which had meetings in the Wall. A painting hanging on the wall in one of the spacious dining rooms shows Humphry at one of the meetings. His egg shape and misfortune inspired the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

Here's the story behind that little ditty:

Humphry Dunkin invested heavily in Africa and North America. He intended on retiring to an estate on Manhattan Island. But when the Dutch went to war against the English, Holland lost, and so did Humphry. He lost his holdings in Africa and New Amsterdam, which became New York. He had a financial fall that shattered him like an egg which he resembled. All the king's horses and all the king's men refers to the Dutch military that couldn't help him maintain his investment empire. Dunkin committed suicide. But since he had 14 children, the investment firm he founded continues to this day.

His descendant, Olie Dunkin, is the CEO. He almost had a financial fall himself. But his involvement with a particle beam weapon called “Wild Card” saved his empire and helped bring down the Soviet empire since it was a part of the Strategic Defense Initiative called “Star Wars.” It was used to flush out an illegal trade operation in which Soviet agents smuggled Western technology to the Soviet Union through Amsterdam.

“Wild Card” officially doesn't exist. But NATO supposedly built a version of it which is being secretly tested in the United States. A Soviet agent tried to smuggle plans for the weapon system to Moscow. but he was stopped and is now a prisoner in a European prison run by NATO.

Getting back to Hansel and Gretel: Gretel started her restaurant and Hansel used his metal working skills to open a school for armorers. He built some early versions of suits of armor which eventually led to the construction of the classic German suits of armor that have sharp edges that make them look formidable. He also forged some of the best blades the German knights used during the last Crusade in the Holy Land and later supplied swords for other knights and nobles.

Hansel did some experimentation with high-pressure high-temperature furnaces and molds to form extremely strong blades that could hold an edge better than conventional steel since the molecular structure of the steel is crystalline instead of grained.

One of Hansel's swords was a two-handed one an executioner in France used. The edge was so sharp that according to legend, a man who was being executed knelt before his executioner and began to pray. The blade severed his head from off of his neck. But the cut was so fine, that the man kept praying for a few seconds because blood was still flowing to his brain. How his heart kept beating is a mystery. Only after the body collapsed on the ground did the head fall off.

Gretel lived a long life. Hansel wasn't as fortunate. One of his furnaces exploded due to the extreme pressure required to form ultra-stressed crystalline steel. He died instantly. Afterwards, his furnaces and molds were destroyed because they were considered too dangerous.

The technology may be perfected within the next few years, possibly. Once it is, the remarkable materials that will be formed will be truly revolutionary. We could have superconductors that need no coolant. We could have insulative materials that are so good that you could wrap a block of ice in it, place it in the Sahara for a year, and when you come back the block of ice won't have melted a single drop. Other material will be so tough that if you used it for a car body and crashed into a brick wall, only the wall would be damaged. There will also be material for planes and spaceships that will allow particle fields to be circulated over them to withstand the air friction so that heat shielding won't be needed.

The next time you read the story “Hansel and Gretel,” remember that it is mostly a lie. Deborah Levi was far from being a witch: she may have had a relatively long nose as witches supposedly have, but the people in the nearby town were the evil ones. Deborah loved the children in her care as if they were her own, and Hansel and Gretel went on to do great things.

Deborah was burnt at the stake instead of in an oven. The only oven she should be associated with is one that baked giant gingerbread cookies. You'll need a pizza oven though to bake ones as large as hers. You'll also need to add nuts if you expect to bake gingerbread cookies similar to hers since they were intended to feed birds and squirrels.

Just don't call Deborah Levi a witch.

Copyright © 2005 by Bewildering Stories on behalf of the author

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