Aug 31 2012

hansel&gretel lived with their beautiful loving mother and handsome tyrannical stepfather, who betrayed and tricked their mother and left them both in the woods to die. but hansel&gretel were no ordinary child. they had learned a great deal from their stepfather during those difficult and unhappy early years, and they chose to never find their way back home, but instead wander the wide world in search of their fortune. they forgot their past immediately, and all attachments abandoned, walked bravely onward with steps as light as the sweet breezes at their back. the pretty little forest birds were blissfully twittering Prokofiev while here and there flashed the dewy eye of a fawn or the happy chatter of neighbourly squirrels.

after a day and a night and a ride on a swan on a lake, they had become hungry, and followed their nose to a witch’s gingerbread house. the witch, a hideous old hag, seemed very surprised to discover them knocking at her door. “oh! you are a very strange small person,” she cried, “how did you find my house, so deep in the wood?”

“we’re hungry,” said hansel&gretel.

“go ahead and try some of my house,” suggested the witch, “it’s delicious! break off as much as you can carry. and please don’t hesitate to rest in my gingerbread guesthouse over there for as long as you like before you’re on your way, but if you don’t mind i have some butterfly wings to mend.”

“dear crone,” they said, “you are already too kind, but we are embarking on a long journey fraught with all the perils of life, and wonder whether you would be so very generous as to teach us by what enchantments your house is wrought, that we might never be hungry again.”

the witch paused in a moment of consideration. she was not jealous of her grimoire – it was just such an unusual question, from such an unexpected source. but she was a kindly witch, and did not hesitate for long. “alright young one, i will show you. this is how we start –

Wheat Flour, Sugar, Glucose and Fructose Syrup (Wheat), Potato Starch, Caramel Sugar Syrup, Vegetable Shortening, Leavening (Potassium Hydrogencarbonate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydrogencarbonate, Calcium Carbonate), Spice, Powdered Egg White, Citric Acid, Artificial Flavouring.
Thickener: Agar-Agar.

and right there on that very spot was a perfect gingerbread foundation. “that’s just the beginning,” said the witch. “would you like to give it a try?”

“we don’t have your kind of vocabulary,” they said, having involuntarily twisted their nose up at the mention of certain ingredients. “but maybe we can create our own recipe:

Prose, Narrative Formula (Beginning, Middle, End), Current English Usage Conventions, Drama (Conflict, Resolution), Abstraction (Pseudophilosophical Metaphor),
“resolving” the “self” in an artwork, whether by denial, futile attempts at further refining formal education, or
[matters relating to the elimination of all extraneous stylistic trappings in favour of direct language aimed towards expressing content rather than the glorification of empty signifiers (?)

tears came to the witch’s eyes as she beheld the masterpiece before her. “my childhood home!” she sobbed, “never have i witnessed such enchantment! o great and powerful sorcerer! may i – may i please see within?”

hansel&gretel nodded encouragingly. in a frenzy of excitement the witch flung open the door and threw herself into a deep furnace. when she was good and cooked, the wicked little cannibal wasted no time in eating her up. delicious.

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