Monday morning. English 154: Introduction to Fairytales. Why, oh why, did I 1)sign up for this class? Just because I spent most of my childhood reading and re-enacting them does not make me an expert—or at least that’s our professor’s opinion. At the moment he’s 2)droning on and on about the lessons that fairytales are meant to 3)impart. It seems silly at first, but as his voice begins to 4)coax my eyelids closed, my mind starts to remember…
We were kids, me and Ben, my best friend in the universe. Our moms had been baking all day, and even though Ben and I had been good all day, neither of them would let us 5)sample anything! It was unjust! 6)Outrageous! So, we were running away to a place where mothers were not so mean to their children, and good kids (like us) were able to have pie and cake and cookies whenever they wanted.
Like most kids who run away, we thought of the forest first. We walked down to City Park, which was right next to the larger national park—a perfect place to get lost and stay lost. Pretty soon, though, we were exactly that: lost. But there! On the path ahead! A small house. We rushed up to the house, eager to explore.
And what a house! It was painted like a7)gingerbread castle at Christmas. We began to8)drool just looking at it. Then we realized that it wasn’t just our eyes making us drool, it was our noses too. Where was that delicious smell coming from?
From out of the house stepped a little old woman, cookies held in front of her like an9)edible 10)welcome mat. She took one look at us and invited us in for snacks. Now this was more like it—this was how good kids like us should have been treated. In we went. And oh what a wonderful place! Pies, cookies, cakes, breads, everything you could think of, she had it. We were in heaven! She excused herself to go 11)wash up.
That’s when Ben stopped. He had been looking around in a curious way, and now he looked horror-stricken.
“Kate,” he whispered, “why does this woman have so much food?”
I looked around but couldn’t find any signs that there was anyone else living in the house.
“I don’t know,” I 12)mumbled back.
“Remember that story your Dad told us the other day,” his whispering was becoming 13)frantic now, “the German one about Hansel and Gretel? Remember the old witch in the woods who tries to eat them? We gotta get out of here Kate, NOW!”
Suddenly, I understood. That’s why she was feeding us—she was 14)fattening us up for her dinner! Ben was right, but I could already hear her coming back. I 15)motioned to Ben to hide behind the door. As she came through, I knocked the chair in front of her. Down she went! Ben and I were out of there in a flash, running back down the path (turns out we weren’t so lost), straight back in to City Park, and all the way home.
When we arrived, my Mom said she was on her way to the baker, and we could join her for a snack. Great, we thought, at least the bakery won’t try to eat us.
At the bakery my Mom was amazed by all the new 16)pastries and breads they had. She asked them where they’d found all the wonderful recipes, and whether they would mind sharing. What the girl said next had Ben and me laughing so hard that my mother thought we were going crazy.
“Well Ma’am, we actually just hired a new baker. But she’s a little older and has trouble getting around, so she bakes everything at her house and we go pick it up. Maybe you’ve met her already; her name is Gloria and she’s living in that old cabin in the woods. You should go introduce yourselves, she loves company.”
All of a sudden I became aware that someone was calling my name.
“Kate…Katie…Katrina Graves!” my professor shouted, startling me out of my half-sleep. “Mind telling us what lesson we can learn from this fairytale?”
“Uh,” I 17)stammered, “Don’t 18)judge a book by its cover?”
The whole class burst into peals of laughter.
“That’s a fascinating insight Miss Graves. You mind telling me how Snow White taught you not to judge a book by its cover? In fact, don’t tell me, just read the book and pay attention.”
Our professor turned away and resumed class amid a few giggles at my expense. I didn’t mind. I looked over at Ben and he grinned, a twinkle in his eye—I think he knew exactly which lesson I’d been remembering.
Hansel and Gretel 《糖果屋》