Me ( age 2) and my sister (age 4)
When I read our latest Carnival topic on Fairy Tales, we were asked which was one of our favorite Fairy Tale. So many different tales came to mind. Most Fairy Tales begin with “Once Upon a Time”; and end with, “They lived happily ever after.” Strangely, as a child I never really recognized that concept when reading or being read one of the many fairy tales that exist. Truthfully, I always found them to be dark, mysterious, and at times quite terrifying. I guess one could relate them to a theme of “Dungeons and Dragons”. The one that always stayed in my mind was Hansel and Gretel. Two young children filled with the fear of a mother who never seemed to love them, and a father forced by his failure to be able to provide for the family. The parent’s only solution was to be rid of the children. Listening to their parents plans night after night, the children saved up some bread crumbs and as they ran away from home, their idea of spreading bread crumbs along the way to help them find their way back home was thwarted by the birds that ate their crumbs. Hungry and tired they came across a most unique house in the woods; one that would attract any small, hungry and unwanted child. A beautiful “Gingerbread House” where they were greeted by a most welcoming owner. The woman not only invited them in, she fed them and provided them with the love they were so desperately seeking. It was only a matter of time before the real person emerged; a woman who used Hansel and Gretel to do chores, only to find out that her sole purpose in helping them was to meet her own needs, and eventually planning to cook them for a meal for herself. As the old wicked woman prepared to push them into the fire, they in turn were able to cast her into the fire.
I don’t exactly know why this one particular “Fairy Tale” was and has been so vivid in my memory. As a small child, you wonder how a mother could just cast aside her children so easily, and I never understood why their father did not stand up for them. Yes, Hansel and Gretel’s father finally did come searching for them and saved them, but I wonder why they had to suffer such hardships to find love within their own family.
What is so sad is that today we so often see small unwanted children deserted by their parents; mother’s who kill their own children to satisfy their own needs. We see children starving around the world, beaten and starving as they are left to exist on their own. I wonder if these small children even know or knew what a “fairy tale” was; yet they are left to live such a life of unknown, hoping for that “Happily ever after” which almost never comes. As I think back, I wonder if this particular tale of “Hansel and Gretel” had some deep inner meaning within my subconscious. For those of you who read my blogs, you often hear me speak of my wonderful grandparents who raised my sister and me. My father left before I was a year old (which was also the last time I ever saw him), and my mother who was much too young to sacrifice her life to raise her own children. So perhaps I have lived in my own little Gingerbread House, deserted by parents; but my “Happily Ever After” came in the guise of loving grandparents, who made me the person I am today.