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pretty pretties  

Greta and Hansel are so unsure, they are tucked inside a tale not of their desire, or their choosing. Their only knowing is this danger road, far away from home. Hansel shivers and turns to look behind. ‘I’m cold and I’m hungry too, oh please may we find a place, a shelter from this wind and oh I am so wishing for some nuts to chew.’ They turn a corner and a miracle appears, an answer to Hansel’s request, a splendid little house made of gingerbread.
Up above the Lady was flying, tired and dusty from the unending war. The sight of her home was a welcome relief. ‘Hello I have visitors.’ Flying closer she discerns her guests are children. ‘Oh fate is kind indeed, my mouth is watering at the very thought.’
‘Hello my pretty pretties, are you eating all my home?’
Greta turned surprised by the voice above. ‘Oh no Dear Lady, just a tiny nibble for we are faint with hunger.’
The Lady smiled. ‘Only good children may eat my house, are you worthy?
Greta sighed, ‘Alas we are, we are, so very bad, our mum and dad said we are heinous beings, our desire for food is a curse. They told us normal children do not need to eat, they survive upon the air, its only the olders who need to fill their tum with roasted meat and delight their tongue with tastes of sugar sweet beguiling puddings. There is no food for me and Hansel, we are sent away to the wilderness to live upon the air as we properly should. You can see how bad we are for when we saw your house our promise to eat the air was tested and sadly we have failed.’
The children turned away in shame. But Hansel turned back ‘Oh dear lady although we are bad we would still beg for shelter in your home, the wild wolves have tasted our scent and a pack is moving closer.’
The Lady sat on her broom. ‘But alas and alack and every other sadness, I would love to offer you a refuge. But my pretty pretties there is a problem. Let us say I have a rather strange affliction. Whenever I see a pretty child I feel a great longing to stuff them in my oven, cook them and eat them up yum, yum.’
The children listened with widening eyes, then Greta said. ‘Yes I see that does rather discourage us from seeking lodging here but the wolves are howling and if we stay outside we will be surely eaten by them. Is there no way your affliction might be abated?’
‘I know,’ said Hansel, ‘If we put you in the oven, we could eat you up and there would be no problem.’
‘Dear child, how thoughtful but if I am cooked and eaten the charms that hold this house upright would disappear and the wolves you fear would find you undefended.’
Hansel thought some more. ‘Well how about if we tied you up? You might still have the desire but your ability to cook us would be gone?’
The Lady considered the suggestion and agreed to try it for a night.
There was only one bed so they all slept together. In the night Greta awoke to find the Lady’s teeth gnawing at her arm, she rolled away down upon the floor. Likewise Hansel was roused by needle teeth sunk into his neck. He held the Lady’s nose thus ending her repose. ‘Dear Lady I must say I need my neck it keeps my head from falling through my body.’
‘Oh dear have I been eating in my sleep again. Its so very tiresome, do you know I even eat my blankets, luckily I have the sense not to chew the green ones.’
In the morning they all agreed it had been a rather uncomfortable night but at least all three of them had survived.’
‘Dear lady,’ said Greta, ‘I have been thinking. Although my experience of this world is rather limited, I imagine that most people do not eat children. If they did there would be no children to grow into adults and the world would be bereft of human life. I think you may have an illness, have you thought of seeing a doctor?’
‘Oh my pretty the nearest thing to a doctor around these parts is me and fixing a potion for my affliction is beyond even my abilities.’
‘You make potions? Do you make spells? Dear Lady are you a Witch?’
‘A tree is still the same tree even if you name it an oak. A bird remains the same after you call it a swallow. I will still be me even if you name me a witch, or a wise woman, a sorceress, a healer, good or bad. Call me what you will.’
‘Dear Lady is the name that I prefer.’
Hansel was still eager to find a solution to their problem, in an effort to wean the Lady off human flesh he caught a wild pig and dressed it in his clothes. Dear Lady looked this way and that, then said. ‘No, doesn’t really fit and the smell is wrong. I applaud your invention and I’m sure your intention was fine but its not really the dish on which I prefer to dine.’
Then Greta had a inspiration. ‘I see,’ said she. ‘We must pull my hair into a rope then share it between us three.’ So they tied the sum of them together making fast the trio.’ Shake hands on that, shake together closely. All for one, one for all. One goes all goes. There’s no fit inside the oven now, so they spend their days with six legs instead of two. Fly around for thrills, mixing medicines for all the ills around.
The times they must be untied Dear Lady chases with a carving knife missing them by inches. Then the children lift a hatchet and turn to chasing her. Quite a laugh, keeps them fit.
The children learnt the Lady’s knowing and when she died they were ready to take her place. One day their mum and dad rolled up. They did not recognise their children but Greta and Hansel knew them. The children invited the couple in for dinner, they were delicious.