Hansel and Gretel's story originates in the medieval time period (1315-1321) when The Great Famine hit. Families struggled to feed themselves. Leaving children in the wood to starve and fend for themselves was not unknown in this time. "The Wald" is a forest in Germany where people used often, but it wasn't considered safe.
Real Life Event
Hansel and Gretel had over heard their step mother the night before say that they were going to take them into the woods, leave them with bread, and leave them there
Gretel began to cry. She wanted to stay home, but she didn't have a choice. Hansel on the other hand had a plan. The next morning they were led into the woods
They were led further into the woods than they had ever been. Hansel had dropped bread crumbs to find they way home. After a while it began to get dark.
The moonlight shown on the path, but Hansel couldn't find the bread crumbs. After walking for a while they wondered upon a house made of candy. A bird warned them to leave, but they didn't. Soon a sweet old lady showed up.
Turns out that the sweet old lady wasn't so sweet. She locked Hansel up. After fattening him up over dinner, she made Gretel go fill the kettle with water. Hansel asked how he could get in the kettle since it was small. The old lady showed him how to get into the kettle. They ran home to tell their father what had happened.