Friday, June 3, 2011

Hansel and The Hippie

I've been teaching the girls how to tell a story. I said it's like a worm.  "You know how you can cut a worm in half and it'll still live as two worms?" I asked.

"Yeah."  They nodded.

"Well, when you write a story, if you figure out the beginning and end, you can put all sorts of juicy stuff in the middle.  It works better since you know where you're going.  Otherwise it's like a runaway train."

"With a juicy worm middle?"  The Hippie crinkled her nose like she hadn't heard anything else.

So, the next day while The Hippie was complaining about reading, and The Scribe shushed her.  Doctor Jones took a bath and The Zombie Elf accidentally put shampoo in his eyes.

I nearly screamed.  "Fine!" I yelled so loud everyone stopped babbling.  "If everyone will stop crying, then we'll have story night!  It's The Hippie's turn to read."

So, after Doctor Jones smelled like sunshine and The Zombie Elf's poor eyes no longer hurt (but still pulsed red), we settled down for The Hippie (my six-year-old) to read a book.

"Once upon a time."  She cleared her throat.  "Two children lived with their father who was a woodcutter.  Now in this house, there was nothing to eat, so the woodcutter's wife pulled her husband aside and said, 'take the children into the middle of the forest and leave them there or we'll all starve'."  At this point all of my children gasped, except for Doctor Jones who cooed and tried to eat a piece of garbage off the floor.

"He didn't do it, did he?" The Hippie asked.

"Haven't you heard the story of Hansel and Gretel?" I asked.

"Yeah, but Grandma Gertie told us a better version.  The kids went into the forest even though their parents told them not too.  Then they got lost because they'd been bad."

I laughed at the ceiling.  Leave it to Gertie to weave a moral into the story.  "Well, this is the real story.  You won't believe what happens next.  Go on."


"The woodcutter took them deep into the forest.  He told the children to stay put while he cut wood, then he never came back."  The Hippie read about the forlorn children and the trail of breadcrumbs.  She read about a yummy house and a wicked witch.  They all paled when Gretel pushed the fiend into the oven, then nodded when Hansel found his wood-cutting-father in the woods again.

When The Hippie finished, she shut the book and frowned, less than pleased.

"What's wrong, honey?" I asked.

"I don't like that story.  It wasn't written well.  It's a bad worm."

"Are you kidding?  It had adventure . . . candy . . . magic.  Plus, it's pretty famous."

"That doesn't make it good."  She folded her legs Indian-style and stared at me.  "Take that bread.  What kind of a kid would leave a trail of food in the forest?  Animals eat food.  That makes me think they were either dumb or wanted to get lost."

"Maybe she was little."

"She wasn't younger than six and I'd know better than that.  Anyway, the worst part of the story is that they forgave the father.  He left them in the forest.  How did they know he wouldn't do it again?"

I swallowed.  Social Services would have taken those kids away in a heartbeat.  Sure he didn't try to eat them like the witch did, but he was almost as bad.  He left them for the animals to get!  Maybe that evil wood cutter should have gotten the death penalty!  Plus, what happened to his wife?  I love how they never "say" step-mom.  What happened to that beast who wanted to have all the food to herself?  I hope she died of obesity!  I shook my head; in all the years that I've heard the story of Hansel and Gretel, I never once questioned the forgiveness factor. 

"They killed the witch, right?" The Hippie asked and I nodded.  "Then why didn't they forget about their father and just live in the candy house?  That's way better than living with someone who left you in a forest."

I seriously didn't know what to say.  "So you wouldn't have forgiven him?  He was their dad."

"He wasn't a good one,"  The Hippie said.

The Scribe smiled, really big and nodded.  "Yeah, there's a difference between forgiving and just being stupid.  Hansel and Gretel, well, they were stupid." 

So, that was the end of storytime and now part of me regrets telling the kids how to write a story--especially since I had nightmares that night.

My kids will never look at fairytales the same, which kinda sucks worse than brimstone.  I told Cade what The Hippie said.

"She wouldn't forgive the father?" he asked.

"No, can you believe she even thought of that?"

"Wow," Cade said.  "I better not get on her bad side."

Anyway, I have two questions for you: 
What would you have done?  
Would you have forgiven your father, 
or gone to live in the magical candy house?


  1. wow. I'm 18 now and even I had never thought about that story like that... But now I do :D
    your kids are funny and smart :D
    but as for me...since my relationships with my dad are great, I would forgive him. And we would all live in the magical candy house together. :) (until we eat it, haha)

  2. I love the idea of everyone living in the candy house together :0)

  3. Ha ha, your kids are smart, no question about it. You should have them tell there very own fairytales. We used to make them up all the time together. Kind of like gibberish..LOL! Anyways back to you questions. I would do a tony soprano and get one of my big troll friends to take care of my dad and sell the candy house to feed the poor :)LMAO! Great post!

  4. That's a tough one. Leave it to the Scribe to think that one through. I don't think she would forgive right at first but I know eventually she would, because several years ago she taught me a valuable lesson when she was angry at Mr. P. After being angry for a year because he left her outside she came up to me and said... I forgive him. Because when you really love someone that is what you should do. So I don't think Cade would have to worry for too long. Maybe a year... lol Love those funny munchkins of yours.

  5. Love that little hippie. she's smart. I say live in the cookie house. I hate it when men chose women over their own kids. (I know first hand)

  6. I would forgive him. It is the mother who told him to do it that I would have a hard time forgiving. It seems to be easier to forgive one who was mislead, than the one who was doing the misleading.

  7. New follower here thanks to Mommy Blogs! I am impressed by your writing skills! What a great thing to teach your children!
    Thanks for stopping by Bizee Mama's Secrets!
    aka Bizee Mama

  8. I never quite liked the story of Hansel and Gretel. I never understood it either. You gotta smart kid.

    I tagged you over on my blog. Tag, you're it!

  9. No question: stay in the house, and if the father shows up, push him in the oven.
    Boy, The Brothers Grimm will get a real grilling when the Hippie and the Scribe tear into their stories.
    Your kids are amazing.

  10. EC,
    I am here becasue of your invite on book blogs and glad I came. You are teaching your kids to "Read, Think and Reason." That is a skill they will use through life and many adults do not apply to daily decisions.. they meander through on numb!
    Now for the rest of the story... In Africa and other countries mothers have to make that choice daily when they cannot feed all their children.. they send the kids off with "people" who will feed them and end up as slaves.... the mother wants to believe it will be a happy ending but it is really about survival. Maybe this is the "back story" the Grimm brothers were sharing.

    As for your darling Hippie.... the "taj rule tm" might apply here. :)

  11. intriguing... thanks for letting me follow you this morning with my COFFEE! :)

  12. I think I'm going to have to read this story to The Peanut and see what her response is...oh wait! I'll let her read it to me. :)