The Gingerbread Man– retold ©
The old couple knew they had a winner with the second try. They had made a cookie out of gingerbread and it came out perfect from the oven. The mold was in the shape of a boy and this time the form was crisp and fine. It brought smile to their old eyes. ‘No better Gingerbread Boy will be found in all the kingdom!’ they exclaimed. The old woman fashioned a chocolate jacket while her man handed the cinnamon seeds that she fixed one after the other on his jacket.
‘What shall we put for his eyes, or for that matter his lips, woman?’ he asked with the solemnity of a surgeon handling a very difficult case. His woman fixed fat raisins for eyes and rose-colored lozenges went where his mouth was. Looking with intent among all the odds and knickknacks they had, the man settled for an orange marshmallow for his cap while the woman shaped out of green marzipan, a pair of shoes was a perfect fit. After they had thus made a gingerbread boy they looked at each other with pride and joy. Their joy was broken only by a gay laughter and to their great astonishment the boy was as much reveling as they at his attire.
Presto! The Gingerbread Boy made a leap and said, ‘The world is my stage. It is time I made a run for it.’
The boy ran out of the door and down the street. He cried without turning his head, ‘Catch up with me if you want to thank for your labors!’ Of course old as they were, they soon stopped when they were out of breath. They leaned on each other and turned to their cottage. Not a glance the boy wasted on them.
He ran past a cow on the roadside, ‘Catch up with me if you have as fine shoes as I have.’
The cow knew she was chasing the impossible. But the sight of Gingerbread Boy running was a marvel. She felt her whole frame heaving. Heading to her stall she knew her udders were bursting with milk, as she never felt before. ‘OK I shall delight my master with a vat full of milk.’ It was what happened that evening and did it not cheer up her master? Yes indeed!
Meanwhile the Gingerbread Boy running smoothly without slackening speed was noticed by a horse. He was led by his trainer through his paces. He was to run at the Derby that weekend. The trainer saw the Gingerbread Boy and exclaimed, ‘ Like a thoroughbred. Black Magic, can you run like he does? ’ The horse neighed acknowledging that he had indeed inspired him to run faster as never before. The Gingerbread Boy racing with the wind was noticed by threshers and mowers. The Boy hollered without breaking his stride, ‘Catch up with me if you have such gay cap as I have.’
The Gingerbread Boy ran on and on and by sundown he came across a Fox who asked, ‘Oh Gingerbread man, why in a tearing hurry?’
The Gingerbread Boy asked, ‘Gingerbread Boy I am.’
The Fox sidled up to him and said, ‘ Boy you are not. You might say you are. But you are not’.The Fox was now running neck to neck and asked, ‘ I say, where is your gay cap? For that matter you have let your fine shoes fall down the road.’
The Fox now ran past him and stopped in front of him. He said that he could overtake him only because he had lost his cap and shoes. The Gingerbread Boy had to agree that the slush and stones along the road had taken their toll. He said still cheerily,’ My jacket is still in good condition. See my buttons are all there.’
The Fox softly said, ‘There is no denying the fact. You are still good enough to eat.’
The Gingerbread Boy asked after a painful silence, ‘Are you sure that I am a Gingerbread Man and not the Gingerbread Boy?’
The Fox smiled sadly, ‘You are no longer the same. A Gingerbread Man I grant you that.’
The gingerbread Boy felt a little put out. The Fox said, ‘It is always difficult to see yourself as you are. ’
Later he assured that it was often the case with those who ran on and on and never stopped to reflect. He added, ‘Whether Gingerbread Boy or Man you and I have some matter to settle’.
From the tone the Gingerbread Man knew the Fox was never as serious as he was then.
‘Who are you?’
‘I am Death, ’ murmured he in his ears.
But to his surprise the Gingerbread Man laughed loud and said, ‘You are more a rag and bones Man.’
As he felt the breath of the Fox on his neck he dug his heels into the mud of the way and taunted him for the last time. He said, ‘I gave my best to those who deserved more.’
The Gingerbread Man did not say another word.( selected from the Fractured Tales-ben4ben.wordpress.com)