Hansel & Gretel…or…The Gingerbread Chronicles.
With “Hansel & Gretel” there’s something amiss,
and the thing that disturbs me, dear readers, is this:
For years it was generally thought to be “charming”
when really the details are truly alarming…
This scandalous tale of neglect and abuse
and of unwanted children and crims on the loose
started back on the day Gretel entered this life
and occasioned her mother inordinate strife.
Her parents, though young, both instinctively knew
of the error they’d made when they both said “I do”,
and for fear that two children would drive her insane,
Gretel’s mother made off with a trucker from Maine.
At their trailer-park home at the edge of a wood
their well-meaning dad did the best that he could,
but in view of the parenting problems he faced
Poppa Haffter remarried with foolhardy haste.
Missus Haffter-to-be was both patient and kind.
All the neighbours pronounced her a ‘catch’ and a ‘find’
but as soon as the marital vows were exchanged
Mister Haffter’s new wife inexplicably changed.
“You promised me romance and travel”, she’d shrill,
“but instead I’ve got two sniv’ling brats I could kill!”
And one night as the tots lay awake in their bed
they would hear her declare that she wanted them dead!
It was clear to young Hansel that Daddy’s new wife
had alternative viewpoints on family life,
So he set about saving whatever they’d need
to escape before Step-Mum herself did the deed….
Every morning he’d pilfer the businessmen’s pockets,
Rob ladies of purses and bracelets and lockets,
And nightly he’d beg and he’d borrow or steal
just enough to buy he and his sister a meal.
Every Sunday he’d sit in a church and he’d wait
until some pious soul would go passing the plate,
Then he’d seize it -with both hands- and hastily dash
saying “God please forgive me, but thanks for the cash!”
Then one day as he loitered with thieving intent
a nice lady approached him, as though heaven-sent.
Said she: “This is no place for sweet little boys;
what you need is an i-Pod and candy and toys!”
She showed him her Lexus and bid him inside,
inviting young Hansel to go for a ride,
and he told her of Gretel, his sister aged three,
to which she said “Super! More money for me!”
They made a quick detour to fetch the wee tot,
lifting sleepy young Gretel right out of her cot,
And with nary a notion of where this might lead
Hansel ordered the lady to drive off with speed.
They sang in the car as they drove and they drove,
crossing stateline and valley, and woodland and grove
and then just when they thought they would never arrive,
they came to a halt at the foot of a drive.
The siblings rejoiced at the fabulous sight
of a three-storey villa all sparkly and white
and young Hansel, on finding the hot-tub and pool,
pronounced their new home to be “totally cool”.
Now I know you feel cheated, let down and misled;
you expected a house made of sweet gingerbread
with liquorice-leading and chocolate-bar doors
and with candy-pane windows and peppermint floors.
But it states –plain as day- in the Residence Code
that you can’t have a gingerbread house or abode.
No, a dwelling of sugar and butter and dough
would just never get planning permission, I know.
And the kids of today don’t want sugary treats!
They now limit their starches and watch what they eat.
They are much more discerning -and fussier- brats,
who avoid too much sucrose and saturate fats.
And here, in this dream-house, or so it’s been said,
little Hansel & Gretel were healthily fed.
Their protector declared that she wanted them well,
and would caution that “thin ones don’t usually sell”.
She explained that nice people would call on the phone,
(lovely couples who couldn’t have kids of their own),
and that Hansel and Gretel were prize adoptees
for those folks who could pay the appropriate fees.
They were also instructed to never go near
the computer that sat on her desktop for fear
that the monster that lived in her desk would attack
and devour them both for an afternoon snack!
But to Hansel and Gretel, the scallywag pair,
this just seemed nothing more than a challenge; a dare.
And quite frankly a monster that lived in a drawer
simply couldn’t be worse than their step-mum before!
So one night as their guardian blissfully slept,
little Hansel & Gretel both silently crept
to the study below, where as quick as a charm,
Hansel logged on the Net and then raised the alarm.
Hansel posted on Facebook, or so I am told,
that both he and his sister were going to be sold!
“It seems,” Hansel wrote, “that we have little option.
My sister and I are now up for adoption.”
His blog had a detailed description of travel,
from which the police then began to unravel
precisely what happens: the perils, the dangers
to those who fall prey to the kindness of strangers.
As quick as a wink, in the click of a mouse,
the Feds then located and swooped on the house.
In just minutes the place was surrounded by coppers
with searchlights and rifles and media choppers.
Their captor arrested, disgraced and in shame,
the young siblings enjoyed fifteen minutes of fame.
Every media site ran accounts of the sting
in which Facebook had thwarted a criminal ring.
Yes, the world was a-twitter about the young boy
whose quick-thinking had foiled a sinister ploy.
All the networks ran specials; the talk shows were booked;
It was “Hansel & Gretel” wherever you looked.
As the pair oft recounted their story with relish
young Hansel grew bold and began to embellish
the facts of this case, by proposing instead
that the house was constructed of sweet gingerbread!
So you see how such rumours can quickly take hold,
’cause I’m sure that is what you were previously told,
But I’ll wager ’twas never divulged that this mess
was resolved by the trace of an IP address!
Papa Haffter declared his regret and remorse,
but then once the whole story had run its true course
’twas a judge that decided the young siblings fate
and determined that both become wards of the state.
So in short what we’ve learnt is to not accept lifts
from kind women (or men) bearing sweeties or gifts.
And when chatting online just take care what you say,
’Cos they know where you live and they’re headed your way…