Bitesize Episode 43 - Pt. 2 of Charlie's take on Hansel & Gretel

Aug 31 / Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

In this bitesize episode, Charlie continues in his attempt to bring the classic children's book "Hansel & Gretel" to life in this modern world by testing his ability to do different accents across the UK. So please sit back, relax and try not to get too offended by his inaccurate delivery 😛.
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Transcript of Bitesize Ep 043 - Transcript

Charlie:
Hello, Charlie, here on the British English podcast. Welcome to part two of Hansel and Gretel. If you haven't heard part one, I positively demand that you go back and listen to it. It's bite sized episode 42, just two episodes before this one in your podcast player. So, yes, I assume you've done that. And welcome to part two. We left Hansel and Gretel just as they were arriving at the house made of bread. Remember, their parents left them for dead. That was a rhyme I didn't expect because the whole family had no more food. So the the mother slash stepmother encouraged the father to leave them in the woods. So they did. And Hansel and Gretel are lost in the woods, trying to find their way back home.

Charlie:
The bird sat on the roof and when they came closer, they saw that the little house was built entirely from bread with a roof made of cake. Well, here we are, finally confronted with an unrealistic moment in the story. If we were to ignore the boy's assumption about the moon, that is. So, yes. This moment clearly shows me this is a fairy tale and not to be confused with a true story. I mean, if a house was to be made of bread, it would go mouldy before you could put the window panes in. Especially if you had British builders make it as they would most definitely be major delays. Or they would promise you that it would be done far quicker than it really can be done. And given that British builders only really like to start a new building project in the warmer months of the year, then that would only accelerate the growth of mould. I mean, these British builders, they could be importing American bread that has so many preservatives in it that the household owner might get a couple of weeks worth out of it. But I have a sneaking suspicion that on a sunny day the walls will they would start to burn. And he'd constantly think that somebody has left the toaster on for too long, wouldn't you?

Charlie:
That reminds me of... It's a symptom sometimes you get of... What is it? I think it's a stroke. Yeah, I think it's that. Let me let me check... Okay. So it's not a proven fact, but apparently a bit like when you're experiencing a heart attack, you apparently get shooting pains down your left arm. People joke about being able to smell toast if you are about to have a stroke. Hmm. This is known as Phantosmia, which is smelling something that is not actually there. An olfactory hallucination. Olfactory being a formal word for the sense of smell. And the article includes an important note at the bottom saying The idea of smelling phantom burning toast may be kind of amusing, but strokes are serious. What a needless reminder. It'd be like me commenting on the Hansel and Gretel story, saying, while imagining a house made of bread is funny, remember, famine is a serious issue.

Charlie:
And the windows? Well, the windows were made of clear sugar. 'Here, Gretel. Let's help ourselves to a good meal, alright?' said Hansel. 'I'll eat a piece of the roof and Gretel, you eat from the window. I reckon that'll be nice and sweet for you'. Hansel reached up and broke off a little of the roof to see how it tasted while Gretel stood next to the window panes and started nibbling at them. Then a gentle voice called out from inside.

Charlie:
'Nibble, nibble, little mouse. Who is nibbling at my house?' The children answered 'The wind! The wind! The heavenly child!'

Charlie:
This is a really strange response for me, so I wanted to see why on earth they would put that in. And it seems in the German version it rhymes. So it's der wind, der wind, das himmlische Kind. Kind of makes a bit more sense, but still, I'd like to suggest they respond by saying, Let me see. Well, no. Yeah, actually, whatever they say, the game would be up, so it would be better to not respond at all and and just leg it. In fact, if I was to find a house made of food, I'd definitely not just blatantly walk up to it and start chewing on it. I mean, I know these kids are starving and all, but have some tact, for goodness sake. Are you telling me that they've never played Knock down ginger before? Oh, there's a juicy cultural reference that you'll want to get your hands on, and you can do that by joining the premium podcast or academy. Insert evil witch laugh. Oh. Oh, I see. Whoa. No, no, it's a witch. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Charlie:
Is that all right? Not really. Anyway, if I had to say something in response to this witch asking me who's there, I'd explain that I'm dying of hunger and I need sustenance to the point where I don't care what the consequences might be. And that's why I'm eating your house. Yeah, it's got a rhyme. So my stomach.

Charlie:
Oh, my stomach, my stomach. It's... It's grumbling and I'm a dumb fuck. But no, this is silly now, isn't it? It's getting rude. Let's go back to the real version.

Charlie:
'The wind! The wind! The heavenly child!' They continue to eat without being distracted. Hansel, who very much liked the taste of the roof, tore down another large piece and Gretel poked out an entire round window pane. Again, they're asking for it. If this was a true story, that would be vandalism, which could land them in juvie. Suddenly the door opened and a woman as old as the hills and leaning on a crutch came creeping out. Hansel and Gretel were so frightened that they dropped what they were holding in their hands. But the old woman shook her head and said.

Charlie:
'Oh, you dear children, who brought you here? Just come in and stay with me. No harm will come to you'.

Charlie:
Because that's not creepy at all. And I definitely trust her. Having said that, it's it's a bit of a given, right? When somebody feels the need to state that they are trustworthy, that you trust them. It's like it's like when when people have to say, I'm not racist or I'm not sexist or even I'm not a paedophile. And again, guys, just a word of warning. A house of bread. It might be funny, but paedophilia is a serious issue if you hadn't forgotten. She took them by the hand and led them into her house. Then she served them a good meal: milk and pancakes with sugar, apples and nuts.

Charlie:
Afterward, she made two nice beds for them, decked in white. Hansel and Gretel went to bed thinking they were in heaven. But the old woman had only pretended to be friendly. She was a wicked witch who was lying in wait there for children. She had built her house of bread only in order to lure them to her, and if she captured one, she would kill him, cook him and eat him. And for her, that was a day to celebrate. Witches have red eyes and cannot see very far, but they have a sense of smell like animals and know when humans are approaching. When Hansel and Gretel came near to her, she laughed wickedly and spoke scornfully. 'Now I have them. They will not get away from me again'.

Charlie:
Early the next morning, before they awoke, she got up, went to their beds and looked at the two of them lying there so peacefully with their full red cheeks. 'They will be a good mouthful', she mumbled to herself. Then she grabbed Hansel with her withered hand and carried him to a little stall where she locked him behind a cage door. Cry as he might, there was no help for him. Then she shook Gretel and cried, 'Get up, lazybones. Fetch water and cook something good for your brother'.

Charlie:
Hmm. She called the girl lazybones. I don't know if you remember, but the wife slash mother slash woman slash stepmother also used that exact insult. Hmm. Could it be, could it be possible that, in fact, the wife is not just the stepmother, but also the witch? Oh, my God. Or maybe the witch is her mother. And that's why she's a bit evil. Awww! Food for thought.

Charlie:
'He is locked outside in the stall and is to be fattened up. When he is fat, I am going to eat him'.

Charlie:
Gretel began to cry, but it was all for nothing. She had to do what the witch demanded. Now Hansel was given the best things to eat every day. But Gretel received nothing but crayfish shells. Every morning the old woman crept out to the stall and shouted, 'Hansel, stick out your finger so I can feel if you are fat yet'.

Charlie:
But Hansel stuck out a little bone, and the old woman who had bad eyes and could not see the bone thought it was Hansel's finger, and she wondered why he didn't get fat. When four weeks had passed and Hansel was still thin, impatience overcame her and she would wait no longer.

Charlie:
'Hey, Gretel,' she shouted to the girl. 'Hurry up and fetch some water. Whether Hansel is fat or thin, tomorrow I am going to slaughter him and boil him.

Charlie:
Oh, how the poor little sister sobbed as she was forced to carry the water and how the tears streamed down her cheeks. 'Dear God, please, please help us,' she cried. 'If only the wild animals had devoured us in the woods, then, then we would have died together'.

'Save your slobbering,' said the old woman. 'It doesn't help you at all'.

Charlie:
The next morning, Gretel had to get up early, hang up the kettle with water and make a fire.

Charlie:
'First we are going to bake,' said the old woman. 'I have already made a fire in the oven and kneaded the dough'. She pushed Gretel outside to the oven from which fiery flames were leaping. 'Climb in,' said the witch, 'And see if it is hot enough to put the bread in yet'. And when Gretel was inside, she intended to close the oven and bake her and eat her as well.

Charlie:
But Gretel saw what she had in mind. So she said, 'Oh, but I'm terribly sorry. I don't know how to do that. How can I possibly get inside?'

Charlie:
'Stupid goose,' said the old woman. 'The opening is big enough. See, I myself could get in.' And she crawled up and stuck her head into the oven. Then Gretel gave her a shove, causing her to fall in. Then she closed the iron door and secured it with a bar. The old woman began to howl frightfully, but Gretel ran away and the godless witch burned up miserably. Gretel ran straight to Hansel, unlocked his stall and cried, 'Oh, Hansel, we are saved. The old, witch is dead!' Then Hansel jumped out like a bird from its cage. How happy they were. They threw their arms around each other's necks, jumped with joy and kissed one another.

Charlie:
That's a bit weird, isn't it? To kiss your sibling when you're overjoyed with happiness. Have a hug. Maybe a high five. A deep embrace. Do a little dance or jump around. Sure. But do we really want to kiss our sibling in this kind of moment? Hmm. I'm getting some incest vibes. Maybe the posh little girl fancies her brother from Essex.

Charlie:
Because they now had nothing to fear, they went into the witch's house. In every corner were chests of pearls and precious stones. 'Oh! Oh, I tell you what, these are a bit better than pebbles, aren't they?' said Hansel, filling his pockets. Gretel said, 'Oh, I'll take some home with me as well'. And she filled her apron full. 'I reckon we need to leave, though, now,' said Hansel, 'and get out these witch woods'. After walking a few hours. They arrived at a large body of water. 'Oh, jeez, we can't get across,' said Hansel. 'I can't see nothing. Can't see a walkway or a bridge'. 'Huh. You're right. There are no boats to be seen', answered Gretel. 'But I do see a white duck swimming over there. If I ask nicely, perhaps it will help us across'. Then she called out a duckling. 'Duckling? Here stand Gretel and Hansel. Neither a walkway nor a bridge. Take us onto your white back'. The duckling came up to them and Hansel climbed onto it.

Charlie:
Hold up. A white duck big enough to carry a child. I know these incestuous children are malnourished, but surely any duck would drown instantly if you put so much as a baby on its back. I mean, even a baby is too big for a duck. And it wouldn't sit well. It would just flop off and fall to the bottom of the riverbed instantly. I think the Brothers Grimm have ducks confused with swans, or even those plastic swan pedal boats you see in a lake when you're on holiday. You know the ones you can hire for like 25 quid an hour. But no, they definitely don't talk to you. I've tried that. Okay, proof. Guys, this is not a true story.

Charlie:
Then asked his little sister to sit down next to him. 'No,' answered Gretel. 'That would be too heavy for the duckling. 'It should take us across one at a time'. And that is what the good animal did. And when they were safely on the other side and had walked on a little while, the woods grew more and more familiar to them. And finally they saw the father's house in the distance. They began to run, rushed inside and threw their arms around the father's neck. The man had not had even one happy hour since he had left the children in the woods, as the woman had died. Oh, dear. Did you hear that? The witch's daughter is no longer with us? Or what do you think? Bludgeoned to death by the father with their last loaf of bread, after regretting leaving the kids out in the forest? Maybe she starved to death quicker than him because she used up all her energy on being so aggressively negative. Oh, no, no, no, no. It's got to be the wood cutter's axe. Yes, let's see. So she tried to kill him because she was going to eat him and she wanted to use his axe when he was sleeping. But just as she was coming up to him, she stubbed her toe on the foot of the bed and said, 'Oh my fucking foot'. And then he woke up, spotted what she had in her hand, threw the bed sheets over her, took the axe and and hacked away at her until she was no more. Yeah. God. Imagine the mess. Imagine. Imagine if he had to use those bed sheets again. I mean, he might have to. He's living through a famine. Or. Or he can make a beef wellington of some description out of that, couldn't he? Think about it. Or don't. Maybe better not to.

Charlie:
Gretel shook out her apron, scattering pearls and precious stones around the room, and Hansel added to them by throwing one handful after the other from his pockets. Now all their cares were at an end, and they lived happily together. My tale is done. A mouse has run and whoever catches it can make for himself from it a large, large fur cap. Haha. That was the worst ending to a story I've yet to hear. I reckon it must be an idiom that was lost in translation. If you are German and you're listening to this, please be a dear and inform me as to why that ending exists. But there we go. Hansel and Gretel, there have been a number of different versions of this, so forgive me for perhaps not reading out the one you know. I actually don't remember being told the first part of the story as a child where they try and and fail to get rid of the kids the first time. And I don't remember a duck the size of a dinosaur either. One thing I am pretty confident about is that it is not a true story. But you have been a truly wonderful student for listening to the end of this, so thank you very much. I hope you enjoyed my retelling and commentary on Hansel and Gretel. My name's Charlie and see you next time on the British English podcast.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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