Tag: hanselandgretel

Hansel and Cinderella and the Witchy Stepmother

Little Hansel and Cinderella were having a terrible year. Their mother died and their father remarried. Their new stepmother doted on her interchangeable twins, but wasn’t ever very pleased with Hansel and Cinderella. And then, their father died while away on a trip.

Their stepmother sent Twin A and Twin B off to some magical boarding school. When Hansel and Cinderella asked if they could go to school, their stepmother gave them a list of chores to do instead.

The list was too long. Luckily, they were able to trick neighborhood children, passing strangers, and small animals into helping with the list. Each day it was a struggle to find new ways to complete the list.

“Would you like to try the latest workout? It’s called weeding the garden, and it’s going to be the next big thing.”

“I know you don’t like your mop booties, but you’re going to be running around the patio chasing squirrels anyway. Just leave them on, and I’ll throw a stick for you to chase later.”

“I suppose I could let you try painting the fence. It’s my favorite thing to do. If you wash the front window first, I’ll let you paint three feet of fence.”

Completing the list of chores each day, even with help, left little time for anything else. One evening, Hansel and Cinderella dared to ask about going to school again. The stepmother narrowed her eyes and ordered them out to the carriage.

She drove them to the middle of the woods and left them there. Hansel and Cinderella watched the carriage drive away in silence. “Do you think we could find our way back? Cinderella asked after it was gone.

“It’s worth a try. The carriage had to have marked a path, even where there wasn’t a road.”

But the ground was dry, and the night was windy, so the tracks of the carriage quickly blew away. The forest was full of many roads, and they were soon hopelessly lost. “Now what?” Hansel asked.

“Let’s sleep here and look around in the morning.”

In the morning, they found a promising path that led them to a candy house. When an angry woman stormed out, yelling and ordering them around, they knew they’d found their stepmother. She might look different and be living in a new house, but they weren’t fooled.

“It would have been nice of her to give us the address of her new house instead of making us look for it,” Cinderella muttered. Hansel snorted. Their stepmother stopped yelling, narrowed her eyes, and dragged Hansel into the house by his ear.

She locked Hansel up and gave Cinderella a familiar list of chores. Then she left to do whatever it was that she normally did. Build candy houses in the woods, apparently.

Cinderella picked the lock and freed Hansel. She showed him the list. He sighed. “And here there aren’t as many people to trick into helping out.”

“I don’t think she’s going to ever send us off to school,” Cinderella said sadly. “I wish we could go to school.”

Just then, an old lady appeared in the garden. “I’m your fairy godmother. Do you really wish to go to school?”

“Of course we do,” Cinderella said. “All we do around here are chores, and the list is much too long.”

“I can send you there, and spell you into a school uniform, but it’s up to you to figure out a way to stay. Oh, and the uniform will turn back into your regular clothes at midnight.”

Hansel and Cinderella looked at each other and nodded. “We can work with that,” Hansel said.

In no time, Hansel and Cinderella were scholarship students at a far away magical school. The school faculty were delighted with the bright young students who had so persuasively and charmingly argued their case. Their year had definitely improved. The children found a way to stay at school year-round, and eventually became successful politicians.

Meanwhile, the stepmother and the witch, who were not the same people, were never quite sure what happened. Twin A and Twin B didn’t remember Hansel and Cinderella at all. That was fine, because Hansel and Cinderella had forgotten all about them as well.

The Gingerbread Tower

Once upon a time, the three bears sat down to eat breakfast.  Unfortunately, their porridge was too hot.  So, they went for a walk in the woods while they waited for it to cool.  While they were walking, they wandered into an area of the woods that they’d never visited before.

They paused as they heard voices up ahead.  Peering through some conveniently placed bushes, they saw a strange sight.  A woman dressed all in black was standing at the foot of a gingerbread tower.

“Rapunzel, I said to let down your hair.  I forgot something, and I’m going to be late.”  The woman stomped her foot.

A window opened at the top of the tower and a younger woman looked out.  “What did you forget? I’ll toss it down to you.”

The woman in black stomped her foot again.  “Just let down your hair.  I don’t have time to describe it to you.”

The woman at the window tossed out a very, very long, blond braid.  The woman in black used it to climb the tower.  She climbed back down a few minutes later and pointed a stick at a pumpkin in the garden next to the tower.

The pumpkin turned into a carriage.  With a few more flicks of her wand, some mice nibbling at the tower became horses.  The bears, hidden in the bushes, shuddered.  They were glad they’d decided to remain hidden.  It could have been them turned into horses!

The witch, for what else could she be, hitched the horses to the carriage and rode away.  The bears looked at each other.

“If she’s not home, it might be safe to look a little closer,” Mama bear said.

“The gingerbread smells heavenly,” Papa bear said.

“Did you forget what happened to the mice?” Baby bear said.  “They were turned into horses.  We might be turned into pigs.  Then we’ll be eaten!”

“Nonsense,” Mama bear said.  “With all this gingerbread, who would want bacon?”

Papa bear shook his head.

And so, with Baby bear trailing behind them and looking around suspiciously, they approached the tower.  Because they hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, they were all quite hungry.  Soon there was a large hole eaten from the side of the tower.

“Oops,” Mama bear said. “I just meant to taste it to see if I could bake something like it at home.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Papa bear said.  “They needed a door anyway.  Now they won’t have to climb out the window.”

“I could go in and bake them a door to put in the hole,” Mama bear said. “I have a nice brownie recipe.”

“That’s a terrible idea,” Baby bear whispered loudly.  “We should run away now!”

But they went inside anyway, and Baby bear followed them in.  Inside, seven very short men were busily working in a kitchen that filled the base of the tower.  One of the men looked up and scowled.

“It looks like we need a five by six patch.”

“Five by six?” The man in glasses next to him put down his mixing bowl and took out a notepad and pencil. He wrote on the pad and then tore the page out and handed it to the bears.

Papa bear took the page.  “Is this a bill?”

The man in glasses nodded. “We charge by the square foot.”

“I thought I could bake you a door,” Mama bear said.  “I make great brownies.”

“Brownies are terrible construction material.  Too soft,” the scowling man said.  “And we don’t need a door.”

“But the witch…” Mama bear began.

“She’s just overly efficient,” said a voice behind them.

The bears whirled around.  The blond woman was behind them.  Baby bear squeezed himself between his parents and tried to wish himself invisible.

“Weren’t you trapped in the tower?” Papa bear asked nervously.

“No, I just spin in there.  My hair grows unnaturally fast, so I spin it and braid it into ropes.  The witch is my product tester.  She insists on using my hair ropes to enter and leave so that product testing is built into her day.  If she was really in a hurry, she’d ride her broom.”

“So if you wanted to leave…” Mama bear began.

“There is a door on the other side of the tower.”  Rapunzel yawned.  “Wow.  Spinning sure makes me sleepy.  One of these days, I’m going to fall asleep at the wheel and prick my finger on the spindle.”

Papa bear pulled out his wallet and paid, and the bears went home.  Inside their house, they found that the porridge was eaten, a chair was broken, and a little girl was asleep in Baby bear’s bed.  Baby bear woke up the girl.

She looked at her watch and leaped out of bed.  “You’re late!” she threw on a red cloak and picked up a basket that was waiting by the bed.  “I’m going to be late getting these goodies to grandma’s house.”

“Just don’t stop to talk to strangers this time,” Baby bear said.

The little girl made a face at him, then jumped out the window and ran away.  The bears looked at each other.

“That was different,” Papa bear said.  “But it’s fun to try new things.”

“It was fun,” Mama bear said.  “We should go back to the tower again.  I want to taste a window.  Just to see if I could make one at home, of course.”

Baby bear sighed.  “That was stressful and exhausting.  I need a nap.” And hew went upstairs and went to bed.

“Should we have told him about the magic beans?” Mama bear asked.  “Maybe he needs a bit of warning.”

“I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Papa bear said.  “Just toss them out the window.  Let’s see if they grow.”

The Wicked Baker of the North

Martha was a marvelous baker, of course. Everyone in her little town knew she would grow up to be a baking prodigy by the time she was five and selling masterful macrons at a roadside stand when the other children were selling lemonade. Her petit fours were winning competitions just a year later, and Martha dreamed of someday baking for kings and presidents before retiring to write a bestselling cookbook and starting a legendary culinary academy.

Unfortunately, when she finally opened her own bakery, business was slow. People in town did their own baking, unless it was for an important occasion. And when those occasions arrived, they all wanted a nice, big vanilla cake with buttercream frosting and some kind of filling.

Martha liked cake, but she wanted to create crusty croissants, buttery brioche, and sugar-dusted scones. When the grocery store opened a bakery and started selling cheap baked goods that tasted mostly of flour, her customer base was cut in half. Things had reached a crisis point.

Something needed to change. But what could she do? If only she could move to a bigger city where more people might appreciate a well-crafted croquembouche or an elegant eclair. Yet, in order to move, she needed funds, and money was in short supply.

Martha would not accept defeat. She had known since she was three years old that she would grow up to be a world famous baker. Those strange dreams of dancing sugarplums had to mean something, after all.

And so, she cooked up an amazing plan. She would do some sort of newsworthy publicity stunt. People would come to her bakery to see whatever it was and spend money. Once she had enough money, she would move her bakery to somewhere much more bakery-friendly and live happily ever after.

All she needed was that publicity stunt. One day, while she was biting the head off of an unsold giant gingerbread man, the idea came to her. She could build a life-size gingerbread house, one big enough to live in. If she lived in it for a week or two, surely that would break some kind of record, and the world would beat a path to her door.

Now that she had a plan, all of Martha’s considerable focus was directed to building a gingerbread house, one cookie brick at a time. She went all out with frosting décor and giant gumdrop furniture. It was the house of her dreams, if she’d been dreaming of cookie houses instead of dancing sugarplums.

The townsfolk watched in wonder, uncertain whether Martha had finally gone crazy. A kind looking woman walked up one day to warn her that cookie houses weren’t very practical. A well-meaning doctor asked if she’d been feeling overwhelmed or stressed lately.

Martha persevered. She had a plan. And when the house was nearly complete, she alerted the newspapers in all the big cities and sent invitations to every celebrity she could think of. This was going to be big. She baked superb snicker doodles and beautiful baklava in anticipation of the crowds.

The night before she was going to move into the completed gingerbread house, she was in her bakery working late. The moon was full, and the kitchen windows overlooked the nearby forest that towered over the cookie house at the edge of the bakery lawn. It was picturesque.

Or, it would have been, if not for the mob of small children devouring the gingerbread house by moonlight. Martha thought that werewolves or vampires or zombies would have been preferable. People were willing to travel long distances to hunt for supernatural monsters, and that might be an even better publicity stunt. The gumdrop bed wasn’t very comfortable, after all.

But no one would travel any distance to see a gang of kids with a sweet tooth. Those were not rare at all. Martha stood up straight and reached into the nearby closet. She would not stand by and watch her amazing plan get gobbled up.

She burst out of the door shrieking and waving a broom. The children screamed and scattered, running away as fast as they could. The damage wasn’t easy to repair, and the house was still unlivable when the reporters and celebrities arrived. Her tales of ravenous hordes of children were met with confusion.

“But where are the children now? I would have expected an army of children with such delicious delights on offer.” The reporter gestured to the table of sweet samples Martha had prepared for her guests.

“They’re probably afraid I’ll bake them in my giant commercial-grade ovens,” she joked. The reporters all nodded and wrote her response. “That was a joke,” she pointed out. “I’m not a wicked witch. Maybe just a wicked baker.”

Everyone looked at the table of tasty-looking treats. “Are they poisoned?” A famous author asked, sounding oddly hopeful.

“Of course not, who do you think I am?” Martha asked angrily.

She found out soon enough. The tale was twisted and told out of context. Some local children named Hansel and Gretel told some outrageous fairy tale to the reporters after her interview. They called her the Wicked Baker of the North.

The locals steered clear of her bakery after that. Luckily, out-of town visitors swarmed the bakery, hoping for glimpses of the witch. Martha pretended to be her assistant and told everyone they’d just missed her.

Within a year, she was able to close her bakery and move to a larger town under a new name. There she proficiently peddled profiteroles and never looked back. In fact, whenever she saw Hansel and Gretel’s tell-all tale in bookstores, she hid the books behind a nice cookbook and pretended she hadn’t seen them. She lived happily ever after.