Category Archives: Fairy Tale? You decide!

My Grandfather’s Clock – Mystery Solved!

I think I’ve solved it! No, not the coronavirus, that’s a real thing. No, not even my Crayola virus – I made that up. What then? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Remember the old folk song we sang as kids – “My Grandfather’s Clock?” My granddaughter likes to play it on the piano when she’s around. Well, it got me to thinking. We’ve always assumed that when the old man died, the clock stopped ticking. It’s in the lyrics, but there is room for another scenario.

The lyrics could be interpreted that the old man was already dead as the family stood by his side and the clock had already stopped, too, after it sounded its alarm. So, I began to wonder – did the clock stop when the old man died or did the old man die when the clock stopped!?

And if the alarm sounded with the clock’s final tick, perhaps, since it was in the dead of night, it scared the old man to death! So, if the alarm sounding and the clock stopping caused the man’s death, what caused that to happen? Was it just a coincidence? I don’t think so.

Oh, I know most of you don’t think like this. Most of you don’t care. You just blindly follow time and traditions, never questioning, never seeking answers. You are sheep and Little Bo Peep doesn’t have to worry if you get lost, because sooner or later, you’ll come home, wagging your tails behind you. You don’t even wonder why the sheep’s in the meadow and the cow’s in the corn! OR why anyone would trust their care to a little blue boy who would fall asleep in the hay and let them go astray!

But I digress. I wonder things. So, I wonder about that clock and the old man. And I think I have it. I cannot prove it, but I think I’m right. See what you think.

The family bought the clock when the old man was born – no, not as an old man! A baby was born and grew up to be the old man – stay with me here! For the next 90 years, the child, youth, young adult, old man wound the clock every week, and the two ticked on together, so to speak. But the man was getting old.

Across the field from his house there lived a “Farmer in the Dell.” The farmer took a wife and so on. Eventually, a mouse came into the farmer’s house after the wife’s cheese. Now, we all know mice don’t work alone. If there is one mouse, there are more!

I believe there were at least three more – three blind mice, three blind mice. They all ran after the farmer’s wife, who cut off their tails with a carving knife.  –  Yes, she did! But they got away.

These three blind, tailless rodents ran out into the dell and ran in the direction of the grandfather’s house. They blindly found their way inside. It was nighttime, but they were blind, so they didn’t know. In fact, it was just before 1:00 in the morning and the old man was asleep.

Well, one of the mice bumped into the grandfather clock and ran up it! Hickory, dickory, dock! The clock struck one, the mouse ran down, and according to my theory, the clock, for the first time in memory, set off its alarm and then stopped ticking.

The alarm startled the old man whose ticker wasn’t too strong either and he died of a heart attack! The family awoke and stood by his side, saying their last goodbyes to a grand ol’ gentleman who died in his sleep at 90 years old.

So, unwittingly, the Farmer in the Dell’s wife set off a chain of events when she left that cheese out to stand alone and attract mice. She chopped off their tails, which sent them blindly into the night and one of them eventually, inadvertently set off the clock whose alarm scared the old man to death! That’s how I think it all happened. Scoff if you must, but I believe it.

Unless — she trained the mice to climb the clock and the whole thing was a dastardly plot to murder the old-timer! But what would have been her motive? Humm…. I wonder…


For more “deep” reading, if you haven’t already, read these…

Crayola Virus               More Crayola                  Closed Caption Confusion

Too Much TV?              Too Much More of TV!

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Filed under Fairy Tale? You decide!, Fiction, Personal Thoughts

Hansel and Gretel – the Real Story!

I never had the courage to speak out before, but now I’m going to try and get my message heard.  I didn’t tell my side of the story before because it involves children and people always take the children’s side.  Or at least they used to.  But with the way things have changed over the years, people are beginning to see that not all children are good and honest and maybe they’ll listen to my side for a change.

To begin with, I’m sure you have heard of Hansel and Gretel before, but have you ever heard of Hannah Fletch?  Of course you haven’t.  But you have heard of the wicked old witch who tried to cook the children in her cabin in the woods.  Well, maybe it would surprise you to hear that I’m the supposed wicked old witch.  – me, Hannah Fletch.  Yes, I’m alive and well, not cooked in my own oven as those two monstrous children reported.  Nor am I a mean wicked witch.  I had to change my name, move far away from that cabin I once called home, and start all over even though I was already somewhat advanced in years at the time.  The children, on the other hand, stole my fortune, tried to kill me, and ruined my reputation, while they became rich and famous.

Would you care to hear the real story of Hansel and Gretel?  I’d like to tell it finally, after all these years.  It’s too late to help me or do anything to those two brats, but I think people need to hear the truth.  So if you’ll listen, I’ll tell my version.

It was a cool, fall evening many years ago when I heard noises outside my little cabin in the woods.  I lived all alone in the forest and I admit that I preferred it that way.  I didn’t mind company now and then, but I didn’t want a steady stream of visitors around.   I had neither family nor close friends and I seldom needed to go to town for supplies as I had a garden, some fruit trees, an old milk cow, and a few chickens.  I made my own clothes and didn’t need much to get by, but I did sell produce and baked goods when in town or to occasional passers-by.  All the money I ever made, I put in a small chest in my pantry and over the years it gradually got full of gold coins and amounted to quite a tidy sum – a fortune I guess you might say.

Anyway, I heard someone outside my cabin one night and looked out the window to see two young children eating some candy that I always kept hanging along the side of my cabin.  As I said, I made all kinds of baked goods for trade and I always put out a little for samples or for children who might venture by when hiking in the woods.  I would hang the samples by string near the front door.  I guess that’s where the children got the idea to say my cabin was made of candy and other sweets.

I went outside to greet the children and when I saw that they were obviously tired and hungry, I invited them inside for some real food and a warm fire.  They gladly came in and while I fixed them a good hot meal they told me how they had come to be way out here in the woods by themselves at night.  I believed them then, but now know of course that they were lying.

They told me their names and where they lived and that much turned out to be true.  However, they said they had been left in the woods, deserted by their father because he was afraid of their wicked stepmother who wanted to get rid of them.  They told me it had happened before but they were able to find their way home by dropping little pebbles along the way into the woods and following the trail back home.  Only this time they had used bread crumbs and birds had eaten them all up, so the children were hopelessly lost.  That’s when they wandered around and found my cabin and the delicious candy outside.

They told me how their stepmother had abused them.  She used to beat them, make them do all the chores, called them names, and barely would give them anything to eat, until one day she finally convinced their father to take them into the woods and leave them.  Hansel said his father told them that someone from town would come along soon and take them home with them and provide a nice place for them to live.  They even cried as they told me the story and I swallowed the whole thing, hook, line, and sinker.  What a fool I was!

Well, I told them not to worry and that they could stay with me at least until my next trip into town.  Meanwhile, they could have plenty to eat, a nice warm place to sleep, and they could even help me with my baking and eat all the candy they wanted.  For the next few days that is exactly how it went.  Mostly, everything seemed to go well, but I did catch them snooping around a couple of times.  At the time, I thought it was just curiosity, but I later learned that they had discovered my treasure chest and had begun to plot the awful scheme that led to my ruin.

One day as we were baking another batch of goodies to get ready for market, Gretel told me that she was having trouble keeping the fire going and asked me to check it out.  Well, you just have to have a good fire in the oven to bake cookies, so I went over to the stove and leaned down to look inside and check the fire.  I was caught completely off guard!  Hansel crept up behind me and pushed me right into the oven.  Gretel slammed the door shut and they grabbed my chest full of money and ran away laughing.  Those little brats tried to kill me.

I learned later that they actually thought they had killed me and justified it to the folks in town with that awful tale I’m sure you have heard for years.  What they didn’t know was that Gretel was right about the fire.  It was going out and it quickly smothered completely out when Hansel shoved me into the oven.  I was hurt and filthy and it took me quite awhile to get out of the oven, but I did escape.  I cleaned myself up a little and headed into town to see the sheriff.

On the way into town, I overheard some people talking and that’s when I heard the children’s version of the whole thing.  Talk about a fairy tale!  I couldn’t believe my ears,  but the townsfolk sure believed it.  Those two kids were the town heroes.  They were reunited with their father and stepmother and they all lived happily ever after on my hard earned fortune.  I knew no one would believe me and that I had better just keep quiet and let them think I was really dead.  I left my cabin in the woods and moved on up to the next valley where I took a small room in the back of a store and began to take in sewing to make ends meet.  I don’t make much, but I get by.  Baking was my greatest talent and joy, but I was afraid I might stir up some unwanted interest if I did that and someone might figure out who I was.  After all, everyone has heard the story of the wicked old witch who tried to cook and eat Hansel and Gretel.

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