Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hansel and the Hippie

I'm trying to work on a submission for the second Open Doors Anthology.  And I better hurry--it's due by 10/31!  
    By the way, if you like writing fun short stories, go check it out.  It's open to anyone. HERE's the link.

Anyway, as I've worked on my story, I remembered something from two years ago.

    The Hippie (who was six at the time) began reading 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 (Cade's mom) 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.
    After 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 good."
    "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 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. I would definitely live in the candy house. Nobody is going to leave me in some frickin' forest.


  2. Well I guess a lack of forgiveness is better than actively seeking revenge. :)

  3. Ah the wisdom of six year olds. I may have forgiven my father but it would have taken an awful lot of sweets.

  4. If you look at some of those fairy tales, they are pretty grusomt! It is interestting to see how kids interpet those fairy tales today. We always try to forgive our parents. Sometimes we give them more chances than they diserve. Me? I would have eaten all the candy and then gone home :) Good luck with your story, mine about Magic beans is in and I can't wait to hear more twisted tales. Been spready the news about the new anthology as well

  5. Lack of forgiveness is the main reason I have NEVER EVEN ONCE left any of my children in the forest!! I'm glad I didn't because I need them around for when I screw up my computer. Oh, yes, I forgot--I love them.

  6. Pfft yeah, screw that, no forgivness would be given by the cat. He'd go live in the candy house!

  7. Forgiveness, yes. But then I'd go back to the candy house.
    On another note, I finally have an idea for a story to submit. :)

  8. I suppose I should start writing that short story for Open Doors 2, eh?

  9. I think my dad and I would have some serious counseling to get through after that. I'm like you; I've never thought about it that deeply...LOL

  10. I don't see it, myself.
    I'd leave a trail of breadcrumbs if I couldn't find anything better to leave a trail of. She used stones the first two times, but she couldn't get any the third time, so it was a choice between breadcrumbs and nothing at all.
    And the kids were going to die anyway if they hadn't been left in the woods; the whole family was going to starve. In fact, he inadvertently saved their lives by abandoning them.

  11. I'm laughing out loud. Kids are so much smarter than we give them credit for.

  12. I can see myself on the psych couch discussing that one. I love my dad so much I would have forgiven him anything. My friend Manfred was born in Germany & he hates the H&G story because he thinks it leaves non-Germans thinking that Germans are the kind of people who leave their children in the forest to fend for themselves lol.

  13. I always thought it was a terrible story as so many others of theirs were. I always much preferred Hans Christian Andersen's stories, granted, some of them were sad as well, but not unnecessarily gruesome. While I may have forgiven the father, I would never, ever have trusted him again. That would have been dumb.

  14. Dear Elisa, like Inger, I always preferred the stories of Hans Christian Andersen. The Grimm fairy tales are full of gloom and doom and disaster and children getting hurt or punished. And like Inger, I might have forgiven the father but I'd never trust him again. And I wouldn't go back and live in the house with him and the step-mother who wanted him to take them into the forest. He was a weak man; she was a mean woman.

    No, I'd find out if I had any relatives and I'd go and try living with them. And if they didn't work out, I'd return tothe candy house and claim it as my own--along with Hansel of course. Peace.

  15. I could never stay mad at my dad; but living in a candy house sounds pretty sweet.