"Father! Over here!" You yell happily. Father's back and looking for you! Maybe he changed his mind and wants to take you back home!

Your father catches your voice at once. "Hansel? Gretel?" Laughing and crying all at once, he runs toward you. "I thought I'd never see you two again! Where did you go?"

"Huh?" You're suddenly very confused.

"You were supposed to wait for me beside the big tree! What in god's name possessed you to go off on your own?"

You scratch your head, feeling a bit sheepish now, and explain that you thought he was going to leave you in the forest when he didn't come back by nightfall. 

"I was only working a little later than usual!" Father gathers you and Gretel up in his arms and tells you between sobs, "The night was very bright, so I thought I'd try and bring back a bit more wood. I'd never cast you out, I swear! Thank goodness you carved those numbers into the trees, you clever children. I don't know how I'd ever have found you otherwise."

Gretel giggles, and buries her head into father's shoulder. "Can we go home now?" 

"Yes, let's go home."

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