Hi – it’s me, Kate, stepping in for Deborah to tell you about my adventures in fairy tales. There I was, standing in a forest in the middle of nowhere. With a boy calling me “Gretel.” He was taller than me by a half a head, with blonde hair and blue eyes. Oh, and interesting factoid–he was dressed like a gnome. You know, the ones that stand around in gardens with the pointy blue or red caps? Well, this boy was a dead ringer for a garden gnome. Only he could speak. And he was calling me “Gretel.”
“Listen,” I told him. “I don’t know who Gretel is, but I do know I’m not her.” I was trying to set him straight. But he wasn’t hearing me. He shook his head as if to clear his thoughts. “Gretel, I’m your brother, Hansel. We’re lost here in this forest. Don’t you remember?”
The boy was trying to explain things to me. He thought Gretel was confused. I’m not sure about Gretel, but I sure was confused. I remembered reading the first words of Hansel and Gretel but I couldn’t remember anything else. I could only remember arriving here, to find this odd boy in the woods.
“Gretel, listen to me,” the boy was pleading. “When our stepmother led us out here, I had a feeling she was going to do something terrible. So I left a trail of tiny pebbles behind us. If we can find the pebbles, we can follow them home. Then we will be safe.”
I remembered a little bit about the story of Hansel and Gretel. Enough to know that he and his sister were far from safe. The strange part was–I didn’t see the real Gretel anywhere. I didn’t understand how Hansel could think I was his sister. Even in the moonlight, he had to see my brown hair and green eyes. Nothing like his own. And my clothes were so different. I glanced down at my sweatshirt and jeans, only to find that I was no longer dressed like myself. Instead, I was wearing a faded dress with tiny red and yellow flowers. And in place of my sneakers–red buckle shoes!
Before I could begin to make sense of my strange new attire, I heard a sound. An eerie howling. It was returned by a chorus of other howls. I didn’t have to ask what that meant. I was in a fairy tale. It had to be wolves.
I wasn’t going to wait to meet Little Red Riding Hood.
“Okay, Hansel,” I whispered. “Let’s find that path of pebbles.”