Hans Brinker

by Mary Mapes Dodge


Hans Brinker - a hard-working Dutch boy
Gretel - her gracious sister
Dame Brinker - mother of Hans and Gretel
Dr. Brockman - a surgeon who save the Brinker's father
Hilda Van Gleck - daughter of a burgomaster owner
Katinka Flank, Annie Bouman, Jacob Poot, and Peter - Brinker's friends

The Story:

The Brinker family was suffering from poverty because Raff Brinker, head of the family lost his mind ten years ago. Dame Brinker, the mother is the one who supports their family by knitting, sewing and raising vegetables. Hans, who is only 15 years old and her sister Gretel, 12, was always tease because they their mother can’t send them to school.

The Hans and Gretel went outside with wooden skates when Hilda Van Gleck saw them, and on pity with them she gave them money to buy skates and jacket for Gretel to protect her body from cold. Then Peter, Hilda’s classmate saw that Hans has no skates, knowing that the boy was good at carving, he ordered for a wooden necklace. Hans use the money for his father’s medical examination by Dr. Brockman.

Hans find jobs to help their family, especially their mother who sometimes harm by their ill father. In reality their parents saved up 1,000 guilders but Raff can't remember where he hid the money. With Dr. Brockman's big help Raff Brinker was cured; he told Dame that he hid the money outside home behind the willow tree. Hans then dug it but no money was found. His father needs lots of good and nutritional food now for his full recovery. Hans don’t have a choice but to sell his skates and soon he also found a regular profession.

One night when Hans came from work, he thought of digging the spot where her mother cut the willow tree before. He immediately does it and there show a stone pot containing the 1,000 guilders they saved! Hans was so happy because they were no poor anymore.

Gretel and Hans joined a skate race where Gretel and won the silver skate price for girls. While Hans let go his chance of winning, he gave it to Peter whom helped him one time in his life when they are really down. And Peter won the race contest for the boys. Hans family lives happy again.


This is a touching story; everyone can attach with the sacrifice of Dame Brinker for her family. Hans shows love for his family, he works hard and never gives up until they finally live happy again.