Shirley Jackson has written a modern fairy tale in which Hansel and Gretel are "problem children" (i.e. brats) and the witch is a charming old girl with a college degree in witchcraft.
The play begins as the witch wakes up on a miserable rainy day in the forest and exclaims, "Such a day makes you glad to be alive." Then she gets into an argument with the second-class enchanter, which is interrupted by the arrival of the much-abused parents of Hansel and Gretel, followed closely by the little fiends themselves.
They haven't the slightest interest in anything that's useful. Hansel and Gretel find the witch's gingerbread house and start tearing it to pieces. The children are so eager to push the witch into the stove that it makes the old girl terribly nervous!