Please enjoy and comment below to let me know what you think! I enjoyed this fun project and I hope you did too! Hopefully you've caught some of the the post-modern and Americanized changes I made from the Grimm's version. Let me know if you have any questions!
Thanks for reading!
Here are parts I and II if you need to catch up!
"Get over here!" hissed the old woman.
"You tried to kill my brother! How do I know you aren't going to hurt me?"
"Come now little girl, you wouldn't leave an old woman here to die? Now would you?"
"Yes, she would and she will," answered Hans from behind her. Hans pulled his sister by the arm and led her outside. "Sister! You could have been killed!"
"No, Hans. If she could have moved she would have hours ago. She's hurt badly and she's stuck there."
"Well good," huffed Hans. "We'll spend the night inside her cottage among the animals, but we'll take turns keeping watch. Just to make sure she doesn't try to hurt us again."
As night set in, the old woman slept on her spot in the kitchen and Hans took the first watch. Many uneventful hours went by and when Hans could no longer keep his eyelids up, he woke Greta to take her turn. Greta did her best to shake her sleep away while guarding her brother, but she couldn’t stay still for long and decided the only way to stay awake was to do a little bit of exploring.
Carefully and silently she got up from the prickly sofa covered in cat fur to examine the wall of picture frames near the fireplace. On the top left was a picture of the old woman, in her younger years, with two large men. All appeared to be cheering and covered in dirt. In another, was a newspaper clipping that read “Young Animal Activists Arrested for Attacking Stanford Laboratory” and the old woman was in a small picture to the side with handcuffs. In yet another, the old woman had her hands draped over the shoulders of a man and there were two small dogs smiling at the camera, but the man’s face was cut out of the picture. Greta wondered if this could possibly be the old woman’s family.
Turning slowly and tiptoeing into the kitchen, Greta examined the tile around the stove which had a pattern of alternating little pigs and sheep along the border. Taking a step backwards, Greta let out a mighty scream when a bony hand grabbed her ankle. While exploring Greta hadn’t realized how close she had gotten to the old woman. “Hans!!!” she screamed.
Only taking a moment to regain his consciousness, Hans lept up, looked around the room, grabbed a broom, and began beating the woman’s arm and hand until she released, cowering in pain. “Stay down you crazy old witch!”
“I’m not a witch! My name is Ingrid! How dare you leave me here like this for a whole day! You better at least feed my animals!”
“You were going to kill us!” shrieked Greta. “How dare you be angry that we leave you there! And why should we take care of your animals?”
“Why did you even come back, you stupid fools? You came stumbling into my cottage, eating MY food, and you expect me to feel sorry for you! This is Mother Nature’s domain! You were like a little mouse wandering into a cat’s den! It’s survival of the fittest out here and my animals can’t live on plants alone!”
“Why do you even HAVE all of these animals? No one should have a pet lion!” screamed Hans.
“You idiot, he’s not my pet! I don’t own him! You stupid city dwellers think you can own an animal! I am protecting him! Protecting him from people like you who think you can own him and make him do tricks!”
Greta grabbed her brother’s hand and gave him a look which begged him to calm down. Ingrid was stuck on the floor and there was no point in arguing with her. “Your hip. Does it hurt?” she asked the old woman.
“What do you think?” snapped Ingrid. “And I’m thirsty as hell.”
“Please don’t swear,” Greta whispered under her breath. Looking at her brother, who still had his eyes fixated on Ingrid, Greta felt a pang of guilt for leaving this woman on the floor for a whole day without food or water. Looking around the room, she saw the deformed rats who had led them there clawing at the grain bin.
“Look, Ingrid. We will care for you and for your animals until you get better and then you will let us go free and we will leave you to care for your animals,” said Greta resolutely.
“Excuse me? We will what?” Hans protested. “No!”
“Yes! These animals depend on her like momma depended on us. They need our help and we can’t stay forever so we must nurse this mean old lady back to health. BUT,” Greta turned to the old woman, “You must swear you will not try to kill us and eat us.” “Fools, I wasn’t going to eat you. I am a vegetarian. But Edgar, he gets hungry for meat and you stumbled into my trap.”
“If we help you, you must promise not to feed us to anyone at all or harm us, not even a hair!”
Realizing she had no other option, Ingrid agreed.
Over the next months the children cared for Ingrid, much like they had cared for their own mother. Eventually, bit-by-bit, the woman began to understand that, unlike other humans, these children were good inside. They would not hurt anyone, not even the animals.
“You know,” said Ingrid one day, rather civilly, “I rescued all of these animals.”
“Is that why the rats are deformed? Did they live in a laboratory?” asked Hans.
“Yes, I freed them from their tormentors.”
“Well, that was very nice of you,” Greta smiled. “Still! You cannot kill any children ever again!”
Soon the three became very close and grew rather fond of one another. In fact, they grew to love each other as a family. But when Ingrid’s health returned and her hip was repaired, Greta and Hans wanted to return to their real mother.
“Please. I am old now,” said Ingird, “And I need you to care for me in my old age as I have cared for my animals. We will send carrier pigeons and they will find your mother. She can live with us and we will all live happily every after.”
The children, realizing they were far from home and would have a difficult time finding their mother, agreed to stay. Months went by with no response from their mother. Years passed and soon Ingrid’s old friends began to visit, envying the way she was cared for in her old age. When a retired gang member and fellow animal rights activist, who went by The Big Bad Wolf, visited Ingrid, he offered to pay the children to rehabilitate and care for him as he found being evil in his old age took too much energy. He paid for them to build an extra room onto the cottage and lived there with them. Soon, other former villains like Rumpelstiltskin, the famous kidnapper, and even the entire Retired Step Mothers of The Woods Association wanted to be rehabilitated and cared for by Hans and Greta. Before long, the twins were running a successful retirement home for elderly former miscreants, requiring only that they had repented from their old ways.
As their business grew, Hans and Greta became beloved fixtures in the community. However, they found that while they loved their jobs, they longed for friends their own age. So one day a resident, who was a retired tax collector, told Hans of his lovely granddaughter, stuck at the top of a skyscraper, thousands of miles away in a concrete jungle. He convinced him to go and rescue her from an evil dragon, called Nintoofif. While Hans was away, Ingrid convinced Greta that if she were to kiss a frog down by the pond, the frog would turn into a handsome prince. Thinking nothing of it, Greta kissed the frog to appease her old friend. Upon doing so, much to Greta’s surprise, the frog did turn into a handsome young man.
“I am not a prince, fair maiden, but I would love to get to know you and serve along side you for your noble cause of caring for the elderly.” Greta happily accepted the man’s offer. The next day Hans returned with the retired tax collector’s granddaughter and the four of them ran the nursing home together.
Everything was perfect in their lives, but both Hans and Greta worried over what had happened to their mother. They had been sending out carrier pigeons every season for several years, but eventually stopped.
“Can we try one last time?” Greta asked of Ingrid one night.
“Alright,” Ingrid smiled, petting Edgar who was also gray with age, “One last time.”
The very next day, Clara showed up on their doorstep. “Children!” She exclaimed with delight. She explained that she had been tricked by the magician into thinking that abandoning them was the right thing to do. She had, in fact, married the prince and became a princess, but he recently dumped her for a younger woman and she now needed a place to live. Although they had been hurt by their mother’s decision to abandon them, they decided to forgive so long as she enrolled in their Value Realignment rehabilitation program. Once she graduated, they welcomed her into the Retirement Home for the Elderly and Formerly Evil and spent the rest of their days together.