Interview at the Gingerbread House
By MFC Feeley
Hadn’t you been warned about letting in strangers?
Of course! But I couldn’t let them starve; they were children. They were so hungry that they were eating my house!
Literally eating you out of house and home?
It’s not funny. Winter was coming, I didn’t have time to bake a new wall
About that, why gingerbread? Why not wood or brick?
I had a stick house, but it burned down. I’m too old to chop wood or haul bricks. After the fire, I still had my oven, so I traded my last gold for flour and went to work. Besides, with gingerbread I can make any design I want.
No one denies that your house is very pretty.
Too pretty. Some say that it is a trap.
Blame the architecture! There are entire neighborhoods in San Francisco, in Martha’s Vineyard, of nothing but gingerbread. Are they traps?
Those are wood.
I already explained that! And what kind of idiot sets a trap for children deep in the middle of nowhere? A child eater would starve doing that. If I were trapping children, I’d build next to the school.
How do you explain Hansel’s charge that you locked him up?
I had no choice.
You admit it?
Hunger had deranged him. No matter how many meals I cooked, the boy kept eating my walls. We’d be homeless if he wasn’t restrained.
And the daily fat test?
I wanted to see if we were making any progress!
Hansel says you tested his finger each morning to see if was fat enough to eat?
Fat enough to eat ….at the table! Like a normal person, instead of eating the table itself.
Gretel says you abused her.
I took her in. I cooked for her. I gave her a bed. Is that abuse?
You made her work night and day.
I asked her to put her dishes to the sink.
Night and day?
Breakfast and dinner.
Then why would she push you into the oven?
I suppose she had greater problems than I realized. They both did. Maybe there’s a reason their parents left them in the woods. I’m not saying it’s right, but those two are a handful.