This morning our first job was to re-imagine a fairy tale from the perspective of a different character. We were assigned our tale and broken into groups. We had a chance to discuss things, then we headed off to different corners to write our tales.
This is mine:
As a young child, she was abandoned with her twin sister. Her family believed that twins bring bad luck, so they were left deep in the forest.
Her twin was not strong, she never had been. She must have taken space and food from her twin while in her mother’s womb. She has always felt deeply regretful of her greediness, even though there is no other way she could have grown herself.
They were taken in the darkness, carried -still sleeping – by their father. He lay them on a soft bed of dried leaves, placed a small necklace around her throat, kissed their foreheads, and left them.
That first morning, they woke with the birds and a rumbling in their bellies, sunlight dappled on the ground.
She left her smaller sister there, wrapped in blankets, and found edible mushrooms and some berries to eat.
Each day, they ate mushrooms and berries. When the blanket frayed, she made a snare to catch small mice, squirrels and rabbits. She used the necklace her father left her – has a small lens – to light fires to cook.
In this way, they lived for a long time (to a child) moving ever deeper into the forest as they used all the mushrooms and berries of each area.
One day, snowflakes begin to fall. Food became scarcer and scarcer. The birds and mice, the rabbits and voles have all found their winter nests to sleep. From time to time she found caches of nuts left by the clever squirrels, but it was not enough and her sister became ill.
Eventually, her sister could eat, not even the thin tea made from rainwater and fir needles.
Her sister died.
She was completely alone.
That winter was a desperate time, every morning she wondered why her eyes opened, why her heart continued to beat.
Somehow, she found herself waking one morning to the sound of rain, to the snow softening. In time the birds came back. By this time, she was deep, deep in the forest. Further than anyone had ever gone.
Through the years, she would track back to civilization, only in the dead of night, and steal what she needed: a cooking pot, a small brazier. Slowly, her home took shape.
As soon as she could, she began to bake the sweets of childhood memory. The taste of them would take her back, back to a time when her family was alive, back to a time when she was safe and cared for. Through the years she grew into a beautiful woman.
People in the villages told stories about a ghost, a witch, that lived in the wood and would steal trinkets and cloth. As she grew older, the tales of her grew more elaborate.
In this way, she became legendary, feared. The parents of the towns would warn their children against the deep wood, lest she eat them.
She baked abundantly and often. She surrounded herself in the sweetness of her early childhood, when all was right in the world. In her ever growing, ever sweeter house, she grew very old.
One day, two children happened on her doorstep, hungry and cold. She recognized the furtive expressions, the ragged clothing, and felt she was looking at herself.
When she realized that they were stealing bites from her gate, she invited them in. Their names were Hansel and Gretel.
She knew they would stay with her forever.