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Brownielocks and The 3 Bears
A Fractured Fairy Tale by A.J. Jacobs,
as featured on "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" 1959-1961
These are best when seen as an animated cartoon. My page really doesn't do justice to the creativity.
Hansel and Gretel
Once upon a time deep in a large forest there lived a woodchopper, his wife, and their two children, Hansel and Gretel. It was a beautiful forest, full of trees, flowers and butterflies and streams. Matter of fact, the family had everything they could ever want--- except for one little thing.
"Food! I must have food!" screamed the woodchopper's wife, running in circles and tugging at her hair.
But the woodchopper just wagged his finger. "Remember, food isn't everything, dear," he reminded her.
"No, but it's something."
"Listen," said the woodchopper. "We have the trees, the flowers, the butterflies, the streams.... what more could a body want?"
"Ummmm, ever hear of carbohydrates, amino acids, riboflavin?"
That one threw the woodchopper for a loop. After a bit more argument, he agreed to go out into the forest and try to hunt down some of these carbohydrates and amino acids. (Yes, his wife assured him, they are in season.) But every time the woodcutter went searching for food, a curious thing happened. He just couldn't pass a tree without chopping it down. He'd come home loaded with logs but no food.
By now, the wife had become so frustrated with her husband, she wasn't exactly playing gin rummy with a full deck. Just listen: "Hey, kids! she shouted. "Anyone for a roast leg of log? Ummm...yummy." Young Hansel and Gretel realized it was time for them to take this problem on themselves.
"We've got to go out and get food," whispered Gretel. "Mom's a little kookie."
"Kookie!" shouted their mother, overhearing them. "What a good idea. I would love to have a kookie! Mmm. Chocolate chip kookie."
So, taking a few precious grains of parched corn, the children set out for the forest. Hours later, Gretel began to worry.
"Hey, Hansel," she said. "Once we've found the food, how do we find our way back?"
"Easy, Gretel. Remember those grains of parched corn? I've been leaving them as a trail so we can find our way home. Some neat plan, huh?"
Gretel shook her head and slapped her hand to her forehead. "That plan is for the birds."
Yes, you guessed it. Gretel was right. It literally was for the birds. As the kids walked along, dozens of crows swooped down behind them and ate up all the corn. Hopelessly lost, the children wandered about, passing tree after tree after tree until Hansel suddenly bumped into something. Something that wasn't a tree!
"Watch your step, stupid!" shouted Gretel. "You bumped right into that gingerbread house!"
One, two, three. It hit them.
"Gingerbread house!" they screamed in unison. Indeed it was. A three-bedroom, four-bath Victorian gingerbread house in a traditional rural setting. Oh, and the entire house was made of spicy cookies and adorned with candies in primary colors.
"Mmmmhh," said Gretel, snapping off a piece of the house. "Have a little shutter."
"I'm more of a shingle and door man myself!" said Hansel, diving in on his own. And in a few minutes the brother-and-sister team had eaten a big hole in the little house. And then suddenly, who should appear out of thin air but a little hunched-over woman with a wart on her nose, holding a broom and wearing a big, black pointy hat.
"Oh boy," said Hansel. "There's always a catch. You're a wicked witch aren't you?"
"And you've got all kinds of magic powers...true?" demanded Hansel.
"You mean you can't breathe fire and smoke?"
"No. I try but I just get nauseous."
"And you can't summon up demons?"
"I don't know," said the witch, scratching her head. "Let me try. He you demons! Come to mama!"
And just like that right on cue appeared a blue bird.
"Some demon," laughed Hansel. "You've got no powers at all."
"Well," said the witch. "There is one thing I'm pretty good at. And that is turning children into aardvarks!" With that she pointed her crooked finger at Hansel and ZING!!! the little boy shrank down into an aardvark.
"Got to admit," Gretel said. "At that, you're pretty good."
"Problem is," said the witch, "I really don't care much for aardvarks."
"Then what gives?" demanded Hansel.
""Well, I care even less for children. And I've got the witch's tradition to uphold you know?"
"Isn't there something you're rather do?" asked Gretel.
"Oh sure," said the witch. "I'd like to know how to ride a broomstick. Vroooooom! But what's the use? I can never seem to get it off the ground."
"If I show you how to ride a broomstick, will you change Hansel back again?" Gretel asked.
"Yes, but you aren't even a witch. How would you know?"
"Oh come on. There's a little witch in all us girls."
And with that Gretel snapped into action. "Now you take this broom, and you twirl it all around. Now you put it on the ground. And you sit right down. Now you tell that broom, Va, va, voom! Fly around the room!"
And sure enough, Gretel began to fly. And the witch turned green with envy. (Well, actually she was already pretty green to begin with, but you get the idea.) She snatched the broom away and off she flew. Unfortunately, the witch had forgotten to ask Gretel how to turn off the broom, so once she started it, she had to keep going. And in a little while, the witch had zoomed so far that she was in orbit around the Earth, where she remains to this day.
But the witch did keep her word, for as soon as she was gone, Hansel turned back into himself. The brother-and-sister team packed up and started off into the deep and confusing forest. Now since they were in a magic forest, they soon came upon a huge talking duck.
"Oh duck, tell us the way back to our cottage!"
"Je ne compreds pas," replied the duck. Yes, unfortunately, this was a French talking duck. But with his duckbill he motioned the two onto his back. Off they trotted, and after a long time the dck said, "Voila! Nous sommes icil" (That's French for 'end of the line.')
Off hopped the kids, and there was their little old cottage and their little old pnd and their sitting on a log was their father. But instead of his usual ax, he was holding a musket.
"Father, why aren't you chopping down trees?" asked Gretel.
"Gretel," replied her father. "I've finally realized that all that glitters is not trees! Besides, I've chopped them all down. Not it's hunting! Hunting's the only thing."
So from that day on, Hansel and Gretel had plenty of food, and their mother never went hungry again. Although she did find the stray bullets whizzing around the living room a bit disconcerting.
"Sometimes," she told Hansel, "I wish he'd stuck to woodcutting."
Want to read another fairy tale?
Note: There were 91 Fractured Fairy Tales. I loved all of
See a complete listing Here.
Unfortunately there is an entire generation or more that hasn't had the fun of experiencing
A.J. Jacob's tremendous writing talent. This is why I am offering a few of his tales on my site
so you can get an idea. To read them all, buy the book listed below!
"Fractured Fairy Tales" told by A.J. Jacobs
Bantam Books © 1997 by Ward Productions
All rights licensed by Universal Studios Publishing Rights,
A Division of Universal Studios.
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