The Princess of Stories and the Giant

Just wrote this today for L.C. Ricardo’s fairy tale writing contest posted on her blog here. To write it, I just let the image spur an adventure to take place inside myself. This was spontaneous, but I feel like at least one character I’ve run across before (the self-accepting giant) was a part of this tale. It seems that this princess, if I have represented her accurately, can be extraordinarily powerful when distressed, as you will see. I feel like this method of inner work is the least accurate, but nevertheless I enjoyed the process, and I hope you enjoy the results. : )

— Story Prompt Picture — copyright Lissie Elle Laricchia

The Princess of Stories and the Giant

Once upon a time, a girl found herself standing in a confusing, foggy land. At first she searched for a way out, but eventually she got bored and frustrated, and sat down to take a nap, saying under her breath, “if only I could find a real story, if only I could find a REAL story…”

On waking, she found a ladder standing next to her, its top disappearing into the fog above. Looking to the left and right to make sure no one was looking at her being so mischievous, she began to ascend.

Halfway up the ladder got all oily, and it was hard to keep going. She began to think, “oh, but what if it’s no good up there either? Maybe it’s just a boring old place too.” But, given that she hadn’t been able to find anything below for so long, she decided to power through, and even though it took a great deal of strength, she passed the oily area and kept ascending into the clouds.

No sooner had she begun to think about how long the ladder was than her head popped through the clouds, and she could see the bright blue sky above her. She was curious, but still sad.

“Oh, is this all there is?” she said. “I know all about the blue sky. I’d rather be lost in fog than be here where I know what to expect.”

But since she had nothing better to do, she started to wander around the clouds. It wasn’t too long before her sad, wandering eyes, met with the sight of a giant stirring something in a large pot. It smelled bland.

“Excuse me,” said the girl. “What are you doing?”

“Hm?” said the giant. He had a deep voice and rather fuzzy eyebrows. “The question is, what are you doing?”

“Me? I’m trying to find a story. You see, when I find one, I’ll catch it in my net and take it home.”

“Oh? Let me see that net.”

The girl took out a small notebook from her pocket and handed it to the giant, who couldn’t flip it open with his giant fingers.

“Well I’ll leave you to it,” he said after trying several times to open the notebook and failing.

“Why, what are you doing?”

“Just making some soup.” said the giant.

Just then, the girl noticed that the giant’s pot was sitting on what looked like a large, red frog, who was getting redder by the second, and looked angry.

“Don’t overheat it now,” said the giant. He tapped the frog with a stick and all the hot air blew out of him, and he returned to a gray color.

“Who’s he?” said the girl.

“Nobody in particular,” said the giant, “But he helps me with my food. Whenever he gets angry and forgets to breathe he heats up. Quite convenient – except that sometimes I need to remind him to breathe.”

“Oh, I see,” said the girl, and she wandered around the giant’s outdoor kitchen quite confidently, eventually walking right up to the angry face of the frog, and poking its nose.

“So what makes YOU so angry?” she said. At this the frog puffed up with anger.

“Best not do that,” warned the giant.

“And says who? What gives you the right to get so angry? You silly frog.”

The frog rolled his eyes, breathed out, and returned to normal. A smile lit up the girl’s face.

“This is funny!” said the girl, jumping towards the frog.

“Easy does it,” said the giant. He put his hand between the two of them and nudged her back.

“Hey! Stop that will you?”

“Bugger heats my soup, don’t need you disturbin’ him none.”

“Well… fine.” said the girl, mirroring the frown in the frog’s face.

She began to pace around the giant’s home-with-no-walls, kicking wisps of cloud as she went. She went and sat on the bed and brooded.

Just then, the sky began to darken. Dark clouds moved in far above them (a fact the girl found surprising), and thunder could be heard in the distance. The girl got concerned and complained to the giant, but he sat calmly eating his soup as he answered her.

“Things happen from time to time, but I am here, and capable enough, perhaps. We will see.”

This did not comfort the little girl at all, and she kept wandering around clutching and the table’s legs, which were as wide as trees.

Soon after, a man riding a black horse drew near. The girl hid behind the giant in fright, for the horse and its rider were just as big as the giant, and the rider wore a helmet of twisted metal, which frightened her even more.

“It’s time.” said the man on the black horse.

“Time for what?” said the giant calmly.

“Do not take me for a fool. It is time.”

“Do explain yourself,” said the giant, “For I am the fool here, if there is to be one.”

“Leave your smart words for someone who will show you mercy,” said the man. He grabbed the giant’s shirt threateningly.

Just then the girl gained some courage, since she was with the giant, and shouted out, “Just leave us alone you lousy git!”

Her blood ran cold, however, when the horseman turned to look at her, face hidden beneath the metal helmet. He reached out a gauntlet-covered hand towards her, but the giant blocked it.

“She is of no concern to you,” said the giant, “Now leave us be.”

“Ah so you have a friend now, and do not wish to be left alone anymore…” the man then took off his helmet, and the girl could see his wild eyes and hair that thrashed about in the wind. “What hypocrisy! What double-talk! You fool! Don’t you see now that-”

But whatever else the man was going to say was lost when the giant took the opportunity to slam his fist into the man’s exposed head. The man went flying, but was able to stand after a short time.

“I promise you I will return, and take your head with me. An attack on me will not go unnoticed, you insolent fool. Your strength will not protect you forever.”

Just then the frog blew out a jet of flames, scaring the man away.

“I didn’t know he could do that,” said the girl.

“He is useful for many things,” said the giant, and sat back down to dinner. The girl still felt nervous.

“What are you going to do about that man?”

“Things will work themselves out, one way or another.”

The girl was not so sure, and went to sleep uneasy.

When she awoke, the giant was already up, putting logs away in his kitchen. Where he got the wood from she could never guess, but didn’t ask the giant about that, because she what she saw was that the entire cloud area around the giant’s cabin-without-walls had fallen away. She crawled to the edge and could see the green earth far beneath them. With a squeak she ran away from it.

“What’s going on?” she said to the giant.

“I don’t know,” said the giant, calm as ever. The frog had to keep breathing rapidly though, because he kept getting angry fast.

“But… how will I get down?”

“Well, how did you get up?”

“The ladder… but, but, I can’t go down now! You’re in trouble here, and, well, what good could I do down there.” She began to get very nervous.

“I don’t know, but what do you think you can do up here, either? Get a story?”

“Oh I don’t care about a silly old story now,” said the girl, “I want to know who did this.”

Just then she noticed, out of the corner of her eye, a dignified looking man approaching. As he did, a small bridge of clouds formed. He was normal human-sized, and looked quite small to the girl.

The man, who had a well-greased, tiny mustache, pulled open a large piece of parchment.

“By degree of the king of the castle in the clouds, you are hereby requested (that means ordered, said the man) to return the girl to the human kingdom below, and appear in court in one hour’s time for trial.”

“What is my offense?” said the giant calmly.

“You will find out when you get there,” said the man, who looked severely annoyed.

“What’s the matter with you?” said the girl, “He hasn’t done anything! And what do you mean return me to the human kingdom? I go wherever I want to go, thank you very much!”

The man answered her with a sneer. “What would you know of it? You’ve only been here the past day – from what we know – and no, it doesn’t involve bothersome little girls like you.”

“I will go,” said the giant. “Just make sure you do not involve her in any of this.”

“Fine, as if I have any authority to do that.” said the man. “Good day.”

“I don’t like him,” said the girl. The giant just shrugged his shoulders, and began to pack his things into a bag, including the frog.

“I’m going with you!” said the girl.

“I don’t think that’s wise, but follow along if you wish.”

They started off along the clouds, the girl grumbling to herself all the while. She didn’t like the situation at all, nor how the giant just went along with it. He could have easily just thrown that messenger off the clouds.

Before long, they reached the castle in the clouds, which was a tall white castle that nevertheless had a swirling black cloud around it. The girl didn’t like the look of it at all. As they walked through the city, the residents all looked at the pair with suspicion, and even resentment. But why would they care? Was the giant really all that bad?

She and the giant reached the entrance to the castle, and were asked to wait while the heavy marble doors were opened by twelve tiny men. Stepping inside, they caught sight of the larger people living inside. One of them, standing next to the throne, began jumping up and down, pointing at the pair who had just entered.

“That’s them! That’s them! Damn them!” It was the man from before, and, the girl noted, he looked excited.

The king remained unmoved, looking at them as dispassionately as if they were rocks, a look of intense dissatisfaction on his face. He was dressed all in metal, with a red and black velvet cape that stood in contrast to his white throne. He finally stopped leaning on his fist in order to pick his nose.

“You there,” he said, flicking his booger then pointing to the men standing behind the giant and the girl, “close the doors.” He turned his attention to the giant.

“As you may have gathered, you have been summoned here today to answer for your heinous crimes. I call them heinous because that’s what they are.”

“Would you mind telling me what they are?” said the giant.

“You tell him.” said the king to the messenger from before.

“Oh – yes, of course,” he said as he unrolled another large scroll. The king had returned to picking his nose.

“Ahem, yes, your crimes. They are as follows: being far too peaceful. Ah, I mean, refusing to lend us your strength in battle.”

“And my punishment?” said the giant.

“Now wait a minute!” said the girl, “THAT’S no crime! He’s just staying out of your business, what’s wrong with that?”

“What’s wrong with that, little girl,” said the king, leaning forward, “Is that with him the enemy could outnumber us three to one and we’d still have a good chance of winning.”

“I don’t care! Fight your own damn battles!”

“And my punishment?”

The king got a maniacal look in his eye. “At noon today your head is to be struck off and posted in the town square to serve as motivation for the people. At last you will have served your duty to your country.”

The giant was silent, the girl dumbstruck.

“What..? You, you can’t be serious.”

The prince now sauntered forward.

“Oh yes, we are quite serious little girl, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.”

She stared wide-eyed, in shock.

Just then the frog burst from the bag. He started shooting flames all around the room. The response was quick. The prince picked up his black mace and sent the frog flying. Then the king drew his sword and began to approach. Then the giant pushed the king back.

“No, I am the only one to die.” The girl noticed he was talking to the frog. The frog looked sad, and slunk off into the corner.

“Yes, good froggy, obey your wise master,” said the prince with smirk.

“Oh I wish I could just…” said the girl.

“What, punch my lights out?” said the prince, grabbing her arm. How cute, what, did your mommy teach you how to fight?”

“The girl is to be left out of this, too.”

“Fine,” snapped the king. “But that is also an offense. I think… I’ll put out your eye along with your head just for failing to return her.”

Suddenly, the girl realized something. Her heart started racing. The prince raised his eyebrow at her.
“Hmm? Is something wrong with you?” said the prince, snarling.

“Whattimeisit?” she sputtered out.

“Ten thirty,” said the king. “Little more than an hour to live, giant.”

The girl had seen the giant’s strength, and knew that if he would he would take out those who were trying to kill him. But having watched him submit, she knew that he stood no chance against these cruel men. She knew what she had to do. Straightaway, she marched towards the door. The frog hopped after her.

“Oi, where are you going, little girl?” said the prince.

“For a walk.” said the girl. The frog was glowing red hot next to her. Not daring to look back at the giant, she fled from the castle, running as fast as she could, past the curious crowds, and outside. The frog kept jumping ahead of her and sitting down.

“Stop it, you stupid frog!” she shouted. Again and again he did it and soon she was doubled over, tired from running.

The frog sat right in front of her again, and then she realized it was trying to get her to ride it. As soon as she climbed on, the frog turned in the direction of the castle, and a jet of flames shot out. She barely hung on as the frog rocketed backwards, and back towards the giant’s home.

No sooner had she got there than she launched herself down the ladder, and, on reaching the earth (the frog just jumped down), ran to the nearby town. The villagers all looked delighted to see her.

“Hey, welcome back! Where have you been? Tell us about it!”

“My friend!” she shouted, tears streaming, “My friend is in danger!”

As fast as she could, she rushed into the castle, where her father, the king, was holding court.

“My friend!” she screamed.

“Calm down, my child,” said the king, rushing to her side, “What’s wrong?”

She calmed down as tears continued to roll down her cheeks.

“I’ve seen something horrible,” she said. “In a city in the clouds the king there is going to kill a kind old giant who protected me and gave me shelter. He’s done nothing wrong, either.”

The king, silent, looked to his warriors, who were leaning against the wall, listening.

“Tell us where to go.” said one.

The princess took a moment, looking between the king and the warriors, then, turned and rushed out the door, only to find it blocked by the frog.

“What’s that?” said the king.

The princess jumped on and, looking over her shoulder, shouted, “Follow me! And clear a path!” Then the frog blew a jet of fire, and the next instant was in the town square.

“Fetch your horses,” said the king. “I think that speed is required here.”

Soon, the princess and all the king’s warriors, who numbered a thousand strong, were ascending the ladder. The frog met them at the top, bursting through the hole in the clouds with a single hop. The girl looked desperately up at the sun and saw it was almost at its peak. She, not thinking to wait, hopped on the frog and blasted towards the castle far ahead of the fighters.

The frog and the princess arrived at the castle gate. It was before noon. Instead of waiting for the twelve tiny men to open the door, she let the frog burst it open. She staggered in.

“Where is he??” she screamed. The king, who was eating lunch, sneered at her.

“I couldn’t be bothered to have my lunch interrupted with an execution, so I went ahead and had it done early. See there? His head is on a pole, as promised.”

The princess stared in horror at the sight. The sad eye of the giant looked back at her.

She couldn’t bear it any longer. The princess balled up her dress and screamed. The king looked up, horrified.

It wasn’t an ordinary scream. The pitch was higher, more intense than that. The air itself began to shake.

Then, the windows burst. A red glow could be seen out the window. The girl walked outside, screaming, tears falling from her eyes, as fire fell from the sky. It hit the white castle with such force that it cracked in two, then, waves upon waves of fire hitting it, crumbled to the ground.

The cruel king and all his court were buried with it, but the giant’s head stood on a pole above the debris. The townspeople and the warriors who had just arrived all stood dumbfounded.

Just then, the girl spotted a small gold ring on the ground. She calmed down for a moment, picked it up, put it on, and began to hear a voice. She turned around and saw the giant’s head talking. The ash in the air and everything else, however, was frozen in time.

“What’s going on here?” said the giant. “You did all this?”

“I don’t know…” said the girl. “I didn’t mean to. I’m scared. Are you… still alive?”

“As alive as I’ll ever be. If you can bear it, take my head to my body.”

The girl, weak as she was, couldn’t lift the pole out of the ground. So she took the ring off and called some of the warriors to her. Leaving the giant, she went over to the large mound of debris where the giant’s body was, and dug it out as if in a daze. The warriors helped her, but said nothing. Soon they sat the body up and removed the pole from the giant’s head as the princess requested. They placed the head on the body and nothing happened, so she put on the ring again.

“Isn’t this what I needed to do?” she asked.

“It’s kind of difficult to reattach so quickly, you know?” said the giant. “But I think now I can do it.” And just like that the head was reattached to the body.

“But everything else is stopped…”

“It’s ok now,” the giant assured her.

So she took it off. No sooner had she done so than the giant’s body lifted up in the air, limp, then touched slowly down to earth again. He started breathing slowly. The frog, who had been standing nearby, jumped towards his master with a hopeful look in his eyes.

“Well, I guess I’ll have to make due with one eye from now on. Don’t suppose I could find it.

The girl was so excited, with a huge smile on her face, that she barely noticed when an eyeball shot out of the rubble and into the giant’s eye socket.

“What – of all the – that…” he looked around, surveying all who were looking at him. “Who are you?” he said to the warriors.

“I profess I have never seen anything like this in all my days,” said the lead warrior. “We were called here by the princess to stop your execution.”

“Yes, I thought you might.” he looked over at the girl, who was still staring at him, now with a look of disbelief. “Thank you.” he said with a smile.

“I’m so sorry!” she cried out, hugging his foot. “I’m sorry I wasn’t fast enough!”

“That’s no matter,” he said gently. The princess smiled.

The giant, along with his frog, returned to his cabin-without-walls, even though the princess tried to convince him to move to her city – for the giant was content to live at his home. However, from that day forward, the giant was welcomed in the princess’ town, and he was often consulted by the king. The princess, too, visited the giant whenever she could, climbing the ladder, probably to this day, to visit the giant where he resided. And the two of them kept the secret of the princess’s voice, and the power of the golden ring, hidden from the rest of the world.



Hansel and Gretel Remastered

Hi everyone, haven’t had anything to talk about recently so I thought I’d post my version of Hansel and Gretel, which I wrote based on my processing I did to overcome eating for comfort (you can find my posts about that topic here and here). You can also read the original Hansel and Gretel, and other stories like it, here

For all those who have ever eaten out of panic or to console themselves, for anyone who has tried tons of diets, or anyone who just likes fairy tales – enjoy : )

Free downloadable image of the Letter O

NCE upon a time, since stories like this seem to begin that way, there was a girl named Gretel, who was princess of a kingdom, and happened to eat a lot. Gretel had an inordinate love of sweets, and was always happiest when she was gorging herself on cakes, candies, cookies, and the like. This wouldn’t have been a problem if not for the fact that she requested that the rest of the kingdom also eat an unbalanced diet, so that there would be more sweets wherever she traveled within the kingdom, and also she wouldn’t feel like she was so odd for living as she did. Her father, who loved his daughter very much, granted her request, and the rest of the kingdom’s budget was closely controlled so that more money was spent on sweets than healthy food.

It just so happened that in one of the towns in the kingdom, a boy, named Hansel, saw his family and friends getting sick on this diet of sweets, and, distraught by this, one day packed up his things, and told his parents he was going to request that the king take back his mandate. His parents warned him that many other brave men had tried to change the king’s mind, but none had been able to stop the king or change the princess’ ways. Hansel, sure of himself, said that he would be the one to do it, and set off on his way.

For you see, even though the king loved his daughter, and wanted to let her have her way, he was deeply saddened by the way in which her health deteriorated, and even worse, how she never seemed truly happy, no matter how many sweets she had.

Upon reaching the castle, Hansel went straight to the king and asked that he abolish the law stating that everyone eat so many sweets. With a sigh, the king said that he would obey his daughter’s wishes, and as long as she wished for it, he would do nothing. But if the boy wanted to, he could try to convince his sweets-loving daughter.

Hansel immediately went to Gretel, who was busy eating cake. His enthusiasm dimmed a little when he saw her obese figure, and a sense of sadness around her. But once again he plucked up his courage.

“All right! Time to stop eating for comfort!” he said.

The princess frowned. “Really? Why would I want to bother doing that?”

“Because – I want the people of the kingdom to be healthy, and all they get now are sweets!”

“I know… but eating that way… it sounds like such a pain.”


“Why? Because I wouldn’t be able to eat the food I like, like sweets.”

“Yeah but… sweets aren’t necessary to live.”

At this, the princess burst into tears, taking Hansel by surprise.

“I don’t care!” She sobbed, putting more cake in her mouth, “I like them, and you can’t force me to not like them!”

“Okay okay!” said Hansel, “But then how can you, or the people, live healthy lives? What about finding stuff that tastes good, and is good for you?”

“Okay… but you’re still asking me to give up things I like, specific things that are obviously bad for me…”

“Well,” said Hansel thoughtfully, “if something is tasty, but poisonous, do you still want to eat it?”

“No…” said the princess, looking very uncomfortable, “But… why not just ignore the its bad effects…?”

Just then, one of the maids burst into the room.

“My lady!” she cried, “One of them just broke out of the dungeon!”

“No! The counselors!?! Please excuse me!” The princess, with astounding swiftness, stumbled out the door. Hansel followed after her, curious.

Half way on the way to the dungeon, a strange man with glasses was hopping up the stairs in a straight jacket, a big bandage covering his mouth. He was trying to shout something. The princess and maid looked so distressed they didn’t know what to do, but Hansel, curious about what the man wanted to say, walked up and pulled the bandage off his mouth.

“Finally!” said the man, fuming with rage. He rounded on the princess. “Why you lousy, good for nothing, weak, addicted, big-mouth freak! Throwing me in the dungeon, taping my mouth shut! Of all the…”

The maid ran off to find the king, leaving the three of them. The counselor continued.

“So much of the stuff you eat, that you make everyone else eat too – IS poisonous! Salt, sugar, not to maintion the fat you gain.”

Hansel was up on the latest nutritional information, however, having seen what affected his family.

“Hey, hold up!” he said, “We don’t know for sure! Plus, if you only eat a little, it won’t have as big an impact!”

The counselor turned an imperious gaze on Hansel. “Do you really want to eat a little bit of dog shit?”

Hansel was unconvinced. “It’s not as bad as all that.”

“You would have this girl run around, literally destroying her body, forcing unreasonable laws on the rest of us, just for a bit of cheap happiness?!”

“It’s better than her having to be beaten down by your crap.”

“Oh really?” said the counselor menacingly, “Did it ever occur to you that it might be dangerous to trust her and care for her? To placate her with food as this lazy king does?”

“Hey miss frown-face.” Gretel looked up. “What would you do if you were allowed to do, and eat, what you liked?”

“Well… I would be… happy. Though I’d still be scared…”

“Scared? Because of the counselor?”

“No, not him…”

“Then why?”

Gretel sighed.

“There are many who are like you, who have come before you. But they’re not always so nice and considerate. Ever since that law was made that others also eat a lot of sweets, these people, who are now a rebel group in the country, have come periodically to try and change the law.”

“So?” asked Hansel. Gretel shivered.

“You don’t understand what they’re like! On multiple occasions, they’ve stormed the castle, armed for war. They’d… kidnapped me many times. They claim that because they are feeling unhealthy or under-appreciated because they’re fat like me, or even just because they feel like it – that I’m to blame. You don’t understand! They torture me, hate me for liking sweets.”

Hansel sat down on the stairs in astonishment. He’d heard of the rebel groups, but never knew their tactics.

“Every time I get away by promising to go on a diet, to try and learn a new way of life, to follow their commands – but once they leave, it goes back to the way it was before…”

“Utterly ridiculous…” muttered the counselor. “If you’d just change, we wouldn’t have to deal with those ruffians in the first place, curse them. And yes, curse you too!”

“And then, even if I get happy for a little while, they always come back…”

“Excuse me for a moment.” Hansel was flowing with indignation.

“Wait!” said Gretel, “Where are you going?”

“To talk to the rebel leaders.”

“Oh, then – I’ll go too!”

“You sure? Well, okay then.”

And the two of them boarded the royal carriage-in-reserve (they didn’t want to be too conspicuous), and left for the rebel camp just outside of the capital. In the mean time, the king, who had been taking a nice long bath, inquired where Gretel was, but the counselor lied and said she’d gone out to play, and the King, none the wiser, enjoyed a second bath in the mean time.

When Hansel and Gretel got to the rebel camp, Hansel jumped out of the carriage, marched straight into the main tent, and shouted loudly:

“YO! Who’s the one in charge here?!”

The rebels were a bunch of disgruntled, fat, unshaven fellows who all wore viking hats slightly askew. The largest, most disgruntled one stood up.

“I am.”

“Why are you hurting Gretel?”

By this time, Gretel, in her traveling cloak, had entered the tent, and the rebels started murmuring to each other, “It’s her! Damn it, what’s she doing here?”

“Isn’t it obvious,” said the leader, “When she eats bad food, the law of the land guarantees that everyone gets unhealthy.”

“Yeah, and we could break the law!” One pipsqueak of a rebel said, “But the royal guards would attack us…”

“Precisely – we have to eat healthy only when no one’s looking! And so… We must destroy her!!”

At this, the rebels started shaking their spears threateningly towards Gretel, but Hansel stood in their way.

“Did you ever bother to ask why she eats unhealthy food?”

“Um… no.” said the rebel leader stupidly.

“To make her feel happy! And you are making her unhappy.”


Hansel did his best to contain himself. “Your abuse is making her unhappy, thus worsening the problem!”

“That’s just fraternizing with the enemy!” said the leader, regaining his gusto, “Her gluttonous ways are hurting us, so we must put a stop to it.”

“Stop trying to avoid responsibility!” shouted Hansel, “It’s her nature to want to be happy.”

“Well she needs to find something else to be happy about!”

Hansel turned to Gretel. She looked up, looking very uncomfortable. “What do you say to that?” he asked.

“Well, I guess if I felt happy I’d feel more able to look for other ways to be happy.”

The rebel leader stamped his foot. “That doesn’t solve the problems eating unhealthy things has created!”

“Yeah but there are other ways to solve this.” said Hansel.

“Some problems can’t be solved without stopping those who are practicing dangerous behaviors.”

“Yeah but do you have any better suggestions??”

He immediately reached into a desk drawer, pulled something out, and forced it into Gretel’s hand. “Here eat this celery stick.”

“Okay, fine…” said Gretel, starting to chew on it.

“Such low fighting spirit!!” said Hansel, astonished. He turned back to the rebels. “The thing is, that isn’t the solution. You may think the problem is unhealthiness, but the real problem is unhappiness.”

Gretel stopped chewing her celery and looked up with a half-hearted smile. The rebel leader was unimpressed.

“Yeah yeah, whatever.”

“Then leave Gretel out of this, unless unhappiness is the issue!”

“So you want to be fat? You WANT to be unhealthy??”

“No,” said Hansel, “But I know that those things aren’t worth it if they come at the cost of happiness.”

“But what if those things are making you unhappy?!?”

Hansel smiled. “Then I’ll solve those issues separately!”

“I am doubtful of this approach!” cried the rebel leader.


“Because what if you can be happy AND eat unhealthy foods?”

“Well, someone like Gretel, and everyone really, is free to choose. And who’s to say that someone who eats unhealthy food is completely happy?”

“Yeah but… who’s to say they aren’t? Then happiness is a danger!”

“Regardless, I, personally, want to be healthy – but I value happiness more!”

“With that attitude, you’ll end up living a hedonistic life, and die from it!”

“No,” said Hansel, “I already told you I want to be healthy. And also, I will never attempt a permanent solution to my emotional issues with food.”

The rebel leader paused for a while, mulling this over. “Fine.” he said, looking at Gretel, “I’ll back off for now, but, beware my return.”

“Wait wait wait – why would you return?” asked Hansel.

“Because… if there’s something wrong – I will attack and beat up the wrong-doer!”

“That’s just abusive! Whenever I fought for something, it’s to solve a problem, not to just punish the wrong-doer!”

“So? I can do damage to my enemies, so I do,” he said, still staring at Gretel with his beady eyes, “Maybe they’ll learn and just give up.”

“But when I address a problem, I do it with fairness! Heck… maybe my perspective going into a fight is limited. Just like I’m being fair and patient with you right now.”

“Yeah seriously, shouldn’t you be punching me or something right now? This is hardly a fight!”

“My disagreements are my punches.” said Hansel resolutely.

“Oh. Okay. Well what can I do otherwise?”

This was rich – now the rebel leader was asking for suggestions from Hansel! He felt courage flowing through him.

“Trust in my ability to solve problems.” he said.

“No way!” said the rebel leader – for a moment it looked like Hansel was in trouble. “But… I will attempt to solve problems in a non-abusive way.”

One of the other rebels spoke up. “But leader, what if that takes too long!?”

“Idiot! Have our methods worked?!”

“Some changes were made…”

“But true happiness, via Operation NoSweets – for anyone in the kingdom?!”

“No… more like a state of desperation, for us and them…”

“Then,” shouted the rebel leader, “We will try this new way!”

“Oh, okay…”

“Now let me hear you, men! We will try this new way!”

“We will try this new way! We will try this new way!”

Hansel nodded to Gretel, and the both left the tent together, and so relieved was Gretel that she slept for three days, then ate healthy for three days afterward. But once again, she began to eat sweets. The rebels were no longer a problem, but the counselor still paced back and forth, unsatisfied with the behavior of the princess. He and the king would argue often about the decision to feed her sweets, with the counselor occasionally needing to find his way out of the dungeons all over again.

With the rebels no longer keeping Gretel’s eating habits in check, the royal budget ran out, spent on sweets, and the princess and everyone else in the castle had to move to a small house in the forest. Hansel, who had grown to like the princess, also moved to the little house. All of them were pretty cramped for space, and suffice it to say the princess didn’t get her desired share of sweets, and she was still fairly despondent without something delicious to eat.

One day, the rebel leader knocked viciously on the royal family’s door. The king answered, in a sweaty t-shirt and overalls.

“Call up sweets-eater! I found some info!”

Gretel wandered over to the door, wishing she had some cake in hand. “What is it?” she said.

The rebel leader tossed a book at her. “This might help you. C’ya.” he said, and rushed off.

Gretel picked up the book, which was called “Hansel and Gretel”, and turned through its pages with curiosity, but could find no way in which the story inside might help her in any way.

However, she did have a friend who might have something wise to say about the book. When she’d arrived in the forest, she’d met a friend of Hansel’s who lived there, a snow-white bird who you could talk to about anything, and its feathers would never get ruffled. Gretel called the bird to her, and soon he was perched in a nearby tree.

“Mr. Bird, how do you think this will help?” she said, pointing at the book.

The bird fluttered down, and with Gretel’s help looked through the pages.

“It may have a way to solve your need to eat for comfort, once and for all.”

Even though she didn’t much like the subject, Gretel’s curiosity was piqued. “How can I tell for sure?” she asked.

“Well, what about greediness?”


“When you see food, what happens?”

“Well…” she was about to answer, when Hansel came walking through the forest with a box under his arm.

“Hey Gretel! Hey bird! Guess what I got??”

The bird nodded and flew off.

“I don’t know,” said Gretel, smiling, hoping for what she wanted to be in the box.

Even though Hansel was charged with getting the groceries, he mostly followed the king’s commands. And today, the king had commanded cake, which was now on the breakfast table, with “For Gretel” written in green icing.

“Yay! Food I like! Tasty food! Gimme!” she said with glee.

“It’s good to see her happy,” said the king, leaning back in his chair contentedly.

The counselor burst into the room, having heard what was going on, and began shouting at the king.

“Are you kidding me?! Do you know how unhealthy that is?! I know you want her to be happy, but she is a threat to our well-being! You spend most of our budget on this…. crud!”

“I guess you’re right…” admitted the king sadly.

Hansel spoke up. “No, he is not right! Heck with that, she’s your daughter, protect her with your life!”

“That’s fine in theory,” said the king with a sigh, “But what if she gets cancer and dies? When is the end of sweets?”

“Dude,” said Hansel, “So she, and we, die a little – so what? At least we all die happy.”

“And I don’t want to deprive her of food either,” said the king miserably, “But it would be nice if she could learn to love healthy food…”

“Yeah but how are you going to do that without attacking her? Like the rebels did – which doesn’t work,” said Hansel, eying the counselor, who was pacing angrily.

“Well,” said the king, “Maybe if there’s a conflict within her over sweets, she’ll see they make her ultimately unhappy.”

“Does she look conflicted?” said Hansel.

The king sighed. “No, so I don’t know where to start.”

Gretel, who had started to hear what they were saying, spoke up with half a mouthful of cake.

“What, am I a problum to you or something?? Just spit it oot!”

“No, sweetheart,” said the king anxiously, “I just want everyone here to live in peace and harmony.”

“So you think I’m a threat to that harmony! I see!”

“No, of course not dear… you are a part of it.”

“Oh okay, see ya!” and Gretel, who had already finished the cake, went outside, content.

“Ugh,” said the king, “This still doesn’t solve her unhealthy eating habits….”

Just then, Hansel got an idea.

“Well, what if she went on an adventure with me? I always have exciting ones.” It was true, Hansel had recently explored many fascinating places all around the kingdom.

“What will that help?” said the king cynically.

“She might discover a greater happiness, somewhere out there.”

“Yeah, but you might just derp around for a long time.”

“Wait! I have an idea!”

Hansel remembered something the bird had told him – that in a land far to the east, was a place where there was an infinite supply of sweets. He’d hid this from Gretel thinking she would insist on going, and might even never leave – but now he thought differently.

“We’ll go to the place where she’d be happiest, a place with endless supplies of cake and no one to tell her it’s wrong!”

“And that will help… how, exactly?”

“She might realize the absurdity of the extreme!”

The king paused for a while, but suddenly it made sense to him too, and with a nod, gave his approval.

Hansel burst outside.

“Pack up Gretel, we’re heading out!”

“Oh really, where?” she asked.

“To the land of cake!”



After traveling for a long time, their friend the bird guiding them, they eventually found it. A giant mountain of cake stood, impressive, freshly baked but ancient as hunger, impressively framed against the sky. Smaller cakes were everywhere, and there was candy, and pies of every kind. There were chocolate bars the size of trees, and a river of pure honey running by. Gretel stared, awe-struck.

“Alright, we’re here!” said Hansel.

Gretel broke into a sprint and dove into a cake hillock, filling her large mouth to the brim delicious confectionery delights.

“Oh my GOSH!!!!”, she cried through a mouth full of food, “It’s so delicious! Have some, have some!” She handed him a miniature cake, one of thousands, perhaps millions.

Hansel took the cake. “Well… maybe a little…” He watched, somewhat concerned, somewhat glad, as Gretel tunneled her way through a giant cake with her teeth.

Just then, a voice caught both of their attention.

“Ah, yes… life’s greatest joy. No? To engorge one’s self on sweetness.” The voice came from an eyeless old hag sitting on a nearby, half-eaten cake, her large red tongue hanging out.

Gretel nodded vigorously. Hansel started to feel uneasy.

“Aren’t you full yet?” he said.

“Not yet! Hold on, I haven’t had this much fun in ages!”

“Beautiful, luscious scrumptious cake…” said the hag, hopping down to where Hansel was.

“Here, have some,” she said, and stuffed cake in Hansel’s mouth. He spat most of it out, and, turning to Gretel, tried to ignore the hag.

“Come on, you’ve had your fill, let’s go back,” he said.

“Okay, I guess you’re right,” she said. Then, sticking her tongue out mischievously, said, “Just one more bite.”

Watching this is making me hungry. Hansel thought to himself, Even though I’ve eaten.

Just then he noticed Gretel had struck up a conversation with the hag.

“So you love food too, then.”

“Oh yes,” said the hag, “simply amazing.”

“Those other people,” said Gretel, frowning, “they didn’t understand. They beat me up for just liking food.”

“Oh… you poor thing,” said the hag, her tongue still hanging out, “Those mean, mean people.

“Well, they learned better.”

“Ah, so now you can eat all the sweets you want – how simply delightful.” said the hag. Something about her tone, Hansel didn’t like.

“Yeah but she can’t eat sweets all the time.” he said.

“Who says I can’t?!” said Gretel, indignant.

“Oh yes,” said the hag. “Such a horrible limitation, what a poor imagination you have, little boy.”

“Okay, she can, but it would be unhealthy.”

“So what??” said Gretel, “No one will stop me now!”

“That’s the spirit, my dear…” said the hag.

Then suddenly, before Hansel could say another word, the hag had grabbed Gretel forceably by the neck, and began shoving food down her gullet. A dumptruck, hidden under a pile of cake, suddenly sprang to life, and it poured its contents on top of Gretel.

“Now eat!” cried the hag, “Eat like there’s no tomorrow, eat like your life depended on it!”

Hansel pushed the hag away and dragged Gretel to safety.

“Hey, that’s mean!” he shouted.

“But,” said Gretel, shocked by this betrayal, “What if I don’t want to eat?! What if I’m full??”

The hag grinned insanely, her tongue wagging.

“I thought you liked sweets!” she said, “Eat it all! Eat all of them – for ME!”

“Why do you need me to eat so bad?” said Gretel.

“So that I can drown in pleasure…” the hag shivered with delight, “the pleasure of that that beautiful comfort that also keeps me alive. The tastes! The smells! I want them all! So give them to me!”

Apparently, the hag could only experience taste if someone else ate for her.

“No.” said Gretel.

“NO?!” cried the hag, “Then suffer! Suffer till you feed me, till you dull my yearning for foooooooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODDDD” At this the sky grew dark, and sparks flew from the hag’s eye sockets.

Gretel stood her ground. “Why do you need food in excess so bad – aren’t there better things in this world?

“Better than food mashing in my mouth, sliding down? The sweet delicious goodness?! Do you know what life is like without such pleasures?! Boring! Dumb! Repetitive! Soul-crushing!”

“Then don’t cover it over with fricking food!” said Gretel, “You need to find out WHY you’re unhappy during non-food times!”

“I know why!!” cried the hag, “Because I’m not indulging in food!!”

“No way! There’s something about the way you’re living that’s making you unhappy! What you are, that has made me unhappy! The desire to eat without end! You! It’s abuse!”

“So what?!” said the hag.

“Don’t solve it by forcing me to eat for you! That’s mean and just prolongs distractions. Go look for the root cause instead!”

The hag, who had been without the taste of food for a long time, was both confused and distraught. Gretel turned to Hansel.

“Come on, we’re leaving.” she said.

“No!!” cried the hag, springing on Gretel, clawing at her, grabbing nearby cakes and throwing them in her face, “ Wait!! I want those sweets!!”

Just then, Gretel’s mouth seemed to… unhinge. In one gulp of fury and passion, she swallowed the hag whole. Hansel stared.

“My appetite is bigger than yours.” she said. Soon the sky cleared, and the sounds of birds could be heard, which had been silent before.

“That was nuts,” said Hansel.

Gretel smiled. “I think I understand now. Let’s go home.”

And the two of them set off back to the royal cabin the woods. As soon as they arrived, Gretel burst in.

“I’m back!!” she shouted happily. The king looked up, and joyfully hugged his daughter.

“Welcome back, dearest one. Did you learn anything?”

“Hell yeah I did,” said Gretel.

“She better have,” said the counselor, who was hovering nearby, “the slimy, gluttonous witch.”

“I learned that using food to cover over unhappiness, without the willingness to look inward to solve unhappiness at its source, is self-abusive.”

“Yada yada,” said the counselor, “Well what about the healthy eating?”

“Well I’m sure it’ll be fun to try some new foods, but I’ll only stick with them if they’re tasty!” she replied, smiling, and astonished at how easily the words came now.

“Somewhat weakly said, but fine,” said the counselor. Then, turning to the king, “In that case, I’m off to go annoy other people, if you don’t mind. I mean- you know, point out people’s bad ways.”

“Of course,” said the king, silently glad to be rid of him.

“Oh, okay, bye!” said Gretel.

“So that worked out well,” said the king to Hansel.

“Surprisingly so! But let’s keep on the lookout for any other nastiness and abuse.”

“Right!” said the king, “Always vigilant!”

And from then on, everyone in the royal cabin lived in contentment, and Gretel was never made to eat anything she didn’t like, ever again.

The End