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4:47 a.m. - 2009-12-11
Back in blue, with Mucha too!

Notice anything?

I mean besides it being 4:00am.

Yeah buddy, I have the best-est, smartest, nicest friends in the universe! All you Clever Gretels who dug up my missing template images are due a big smooch in the location of your choice. Anywhere. Really. Except maybe Hoboken, NJ. Hoboken is really awful this time of year. (Right, like there's a good season in Hoboken. "Come on, kids! It's Industrial Waste and Abandoned Warehouse Week! We're heading for Hoboken!" "YAY!!!")

Yeah. Guess I'm back.

Anyhoodle, does everyone know the story of Clever Gretel? No?

The Story of Clever Gretel

Once upon a time there was a man who lived in a fine house on the edge of the forest outside of Bremen Town. The man lived in his fine house alone except for his housekeeper/cook, Gretel. One day the man told Gretel to kill and roast two chickens, he was having an important guest for dinner.

That evening the man and his guest were having a fine time talking and laughing and drinking gluhwein. Gretel, in the kitchen, tended to the chickens which were turning on a spit before the fire. Oh, those chickens smelled delicious! She thought, "They are deep in their wine and will never miss it if I taste a bit of one chicken." Gretel tore off a bit of skin from one of the chickens. It was so tasty! She helped herself to another piece and another and another. Soon she had eaten up the entire chicken! Oh no! What to do? Surely her master would notice if only one chicken came to the table!

Just then her master came through the kitchen to go to the cellar to get more wine. Quickly Gretel slipped into the parlor where the guest was waiting for his host. She put a terrified look on her face and whispered in a frightened voice, "Good Sir! You must run away! When my master is in his cups he becomes angry and violent! I am afraid for you! If he becomes offended, as he surely will, he will tear off both your ears!"

Scared out of his wits, the guest followed Gretel into the kitchen. She opened the back door and urged the man to run away just as fast as he could.

When the master came up from the cellar with more wine Gretel raced over to him and shouted, "Master! Master! Your guest has stolen the dinner! He took both chickens and ran off into the forest!"

The master seeing the fleeing guest through the open back door, pushed the wine bottles into Gretel's hands and gave chase to his departing dinner guest. "Come back, you scoundrel! Come back! I only want one!"

Of course the master meant one of the chickens, but the terrified guest heard the master's shouts and believed he was coming to tear off one of his ears and ran all the harder.

Master and guest gone into the forest, Gretel opened one of the bottles of wine and settled down to eat the other chicken. Pouring a glass, she raised it and toasted herself for being so clever.

And that is the story of Clever Gretel.

This was one of the stories on an album of them I had as a kid. I don't know who gave me the record, but I loved it. The readers used wonderful voices for their characters and told the stories so beautifully that I listened to that record over and over. Rapunzel was another of the stories. An uptown version where the poor woodcutter's pregnant wife craved 'rampion'. I had not a clue what rampion was, I assumed it was some kind of fancy lettuce. Another of the stories was about a trolley car that jumped the tracks and went to the bottom of the sea. The conductor and passengers then found out what it was like to be a goldfish in a bowl as the trolley car's glass windows allowed the fish to peer in at them. The people didn't like it much. I seem to remember the story didn't end well as the trolley car stayed at the bottom of the sea trundling along forever while the fish had their revenge and stared at the people until they went mad.

Ever notice how gruesome most children's stories are? Tearing off ears, trading babies for fancy lettuce, doomed trolley car passengers. How fun.

Not as much fun as having my diary back to its old self though!


Grateful and happy, even if awake and stare-eyed most of the night. ~LA

10 Wanna talk about it!

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