Welcome back to the wonderful world of Grimms’ Fairy Tales.

Watching the Republicans’ colorful method of choosing the Speaker of the House got me wondering if their method was just a simple circular firing squad or something darker, like cannibalism.

Always looking on the sunny side of life, I figured cannibalism was the better analogy. Who knows more about cannibalism than the Brothers Grimm with their rollicking medieval tales filled with gore, witches and evil stepmothers? Cannibalism was common during the Medieval period.

Sit back and return with us now to the thrilling days of Hansel and Gretel.

Once upon a time, on the edge of a dark forest there lived a poor woodcutter, his two children, and his wife, the proverbial wicked stepmother.

Things were tough all over. The woodcutting market was bad. Famine, like celery, stalked the land. The woodcutter’s family lived on the ragged edge of starvation.

Wicked Step Mom kept fussing at her husband that they would all starve to death if he kept trying to feed his kids. Her solution was to take Hansel and Gretel into the deep forest and leave them there to starve or be eaten by wild animals.
Dad did not want to do it but eventually gave in after days of endless nagging. Fortunately, the kids overheard the plan to dump them in the woods.

Hansel, a plucky lad, came up with a plan. The night before they were to be taken to the forest, Hansel sneaked out of the cottage to fill his pockets with little white stones.

He surreptitiously dropped the stones leaving a trail as they went into the forest. Hansel probably stole this idea from Greek mythology as Theseus left a string to find his way out of the labyrinth after killing the Minotaur.

In any event, the kids found their way out of the forest, showing up back home the next morning to the chagrin of Step Mom.
She pretended to be glad to see them but being a wicked Step Mom, she was faking it. She convinced their Dad to take them back into the woods.

She locked the cottage door so Hansel could not get out to gather stones to set the trail. Hansel switched to Plan B which involved leaving a trail of bread crumbs instead of rocks.

Alas, Plan B failed because birds ate all the bread crumbs Hansel dropped. They were stuck in the deep dark woods. After three days the kids were beyond hungry, borderline hangry.

Suddenly they spotted a white bird singing a cheery song. They followed the bird because what else were they going to do? Soon the bird led them to a beautiful cottage in a glade. The roof was made of cake, the windows were sugar, and its walls were made of bread.

The kids immediately started chowing down on the infrastructure. Yum.

A very old woman came out of the house and invited them inside saying: “Just come inside my little darlings, rest yourselves in my little box of treats. It’s as safe as houses!”

Pro tip: Anytime someone tells you something is safe without being asked; it ain’t safe.

The old woman was a witch. She fed them a hearty cholesterol and gluten heavy meal and tucked them into bed. The next morning, she grabbed Hansel locking him up in a cage in her She Shed.

She had been catching children, killing them, and eating them for many years. Hansel and Gretel were the next items on the menu.

Plot device: Witches are near sighted.

She wanted to fatten up Hansel by stuffing him with fried food like a hungry redneck at a Calabash seafood buffet. To determine if Hansel was fat enough, she made him stick his finger out the bars so she could see if he was a candidate for

Type 2 diabetes and the stew pot.

Hansel knew she had poor vision, so he stuck a chicken bone out for her to feel instead of his finger. He never seemed to gain weight for weeks.

Finally, she could wait no longer. She ordered Gretel to start a fire in the wood stove to cook Hansel.

She demanded Gretel climb into the oven to see if it was hot enough. Gretel pretended she did not understand, asking the witch to show her how. Like a Medieval Sylvia Plath, the witch stuck her head in the oven.

Gretel pushed her inside leading to the witch’s toasty death. Gretel freed Hansel from his cage. They scoured the cottage for jewels, liberating lots of loot.

They found a magic duck who gave them a ride across a wide lake and arrived back home with Dad. Wicked Step Mom had died while they were gone. Dad and the kids lived happily ever after on the witch’s jewels.

Moral: Never sleep in a house made of cake.

No actual stepmothers or witches were harmed while writing this column.

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