Friday, March 15, 2013

The Maple Sugar Man - Contest Entry


If you've been reading my blog lately, you'll know I'm on a fractured fairy tales kick. So what did I write when challenged by Susanna Leonard Hill's Spring story contest? You guessed it. 

Here is my version of "The Gingerbread Man", set in a sugarbush (a stand of maple trees tapped for their sap) in my native Vermont. As a child, I absolutely knew spring was here when we got to go to the sugarhouse and taste the fresh maple syrup. There is just nothing like that flavor! Welcome Spring!


The Maple Sugar Man
by Laura Renauld
(347 words)

While the sap boiled, a maple sugarmaker molded a little man out of maple sugar. He put it in the cupboard to set. But when the sugarmaker opened the cupboard to get his sweet treat, the maple sugar man jumped up and cried, “You won’t eat me for dessert!” And he ran out the door. The sugarmaker gave chase.

“You can’t catch me. I’m the maple sugar man!” he called back as he ran through the sugarbush. Soon, a squirrel saw him.

“A sweet treat!” said the squirrel. But the maple sugar man was too fast. “Nuts,” grumbled the squirrel.

“You can’t catch me. I’m the maple sugar man!” The little man ran out of the forest and into a field.

A hawk swooped down. “You’re a sweet treat to eat!” But the maple sugar man jumped into a thorn bush just in time. “Rats,” muttered the hawk.

“You can’t catch me. I’m the maple sugar man!” he shouted and he took off running again. As he zoomed around an outcropping, there was the sugarmaker! He had taken a shortcut through the sugarbush.

“Wait!” cried the sugarmaker. “I promise not to eat you. I have a surprise for you at the sugarhouse. Climb on my boot.”

The maple sugar man was too curious to be careful, so he hopped on.

As the sugarmaker trudged through the sugarbush, the snow deepened. “Jump into my jacket pocket so you don’t get buried,” offered the sugarmaker. The maple sugar man did.

When they arrived at the sugarhouse, the sugarmaker said to the maple sugar man, “Climb onto my shoulder so you can see your surprise better.” The maple sugar man was excited. 

“Do you see that?” the sugarmaker asked, pointing. The maple sugar man leaned over.

“SURPRISE!” hollered the sugarmaker. The maple sugar man was so startled he fell into the vat of boiling sap. Satisfied, the sugarmaker took a maple sugar leaf out of his pocket. “From now on, I’m only using leaf-shaped candy molds!” As he bit into his sweet treat, the sugarmaker knew Spring was really here.


Don't worry! I won't be off of fractured fairy tales anytime soon. My boys and I are especially enamored with all the versions of Goldilocks at the moment. Come back next Wednesday for the first of two posts on that mischievous little girl (or in some cases, bear)!

43 comments:

  1. You have two of my favorite things here: maple syrup/sugar and fractured fairy tales. :) This was funny and twisted...I love it (I'm a Twilight Zone fan, so I have a fondness for twisted)!

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    1. Thanks, Teresa! I'm so glad you are joining in the contest. Susanna's blog is great fun and I've really grown as a writer since I started participating.

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  2. How creative you used the sugar for this fairy tale. I love fractured fairy tales too!

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I think I have maple in my blood :)

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  3. So much fun, Laura! When we lived in Connecticut, we tapped the three huge old maples that stood in our front yard. I boiled the sap every day and emerged from the experience with many pint bottles of pure maple syrup to give as gifts, several hunks of maple candy, the result of over-boiled sap AND a ruined set of once-beautiful country kitchen chairs (the humidity in the kitchen from the constant boiling peeled the varnish). :)
    Great story...enjoyed the maker's decision to avoid trouble in the future.:)

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    1. What an adventure! I love maple syrup, but with 40 gallons of sap to one gallon of syrup, I'm not too inclined to try making it myself!

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    1. Yes, I thought having him come back in, instead of a fox-type character, would make a nice twist.

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  5. Sweeeeeet! I know some kids who are "too curious to be careful!" FUN entry, Laura. Can't wait for your upcoming posts about Goldie!

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    1. Thanks, Barbara! Can't wait to see you here again.

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  6. Sneaky, funny and twisted. Great fractured fairy tale entry, Laura! I would love to try tapping maple syrup.

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    1. I've never actually tapped a tree, either, Joanna. Wouldn't that be fun?

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  7. I LOVE this Laura! What a great twist on the gingerbread man! And I'm laughing because I almost write a maple sugar story for my sample but decided everyone would think I had a one-track mind after April Fool Phyllis :) And how did I not know you live in Vermont? I was there last weekend! But I digress :) I think this is a very clever fun story! Great job!

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    1. Thanks, Susanna. I'm a native Vermonter, but, alas, I no longer live there. Here in Virginia, the daffodils are nearly in bloom. I'm trying my best to push Spring north to you and my family! :)

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  8. Very clever, Laura! Didn't expect the ending at all. Yes, maple sugar time is a signal of spring.

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    1. Thanks, Patricia! Glad to keep you guessing :)

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  9. What a neat idea! I loved the images you used. Are they pictures you've taken yourself?

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    1. Sorry, no :( You can find anything on the internet!

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  10. My dad grew up in Vermont . . . and did maple sugaring with his dad in the Spring. We loved maple syrup, sugar on snow, maple sugar candy. YUM.

    FUN take on the Gingerbread Man.

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    1. My mouth is watering! One of my favorites is maple cotton candy. It has spoiled me for regular cotton candy. I just can't eat the pink stuff.

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  11. You had me with the title on this one! I'll never bite into a maple sugar candy again without wondering.... Clever, clever!

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  12. How fun! I loved your story. I was sooo rooting for the maple sugar man. But, alas, he was reborn as a maple leaf. Great story.

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    1. Yeah, I kept to the traditional (if not morbid) ending :)

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  13. This is really fun, Laura! Great visuals I could "see" in my head.

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    1. Thanks, Wendy. I wish I were an artist to bring those pictures in my head out on paper!

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  14. That sugarmaker wasn't at all sweet! :) Poor sugar man.
    A maple leaf shape is SO appropriate for those. Our sugar cane doesn't give the same scope.

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  15. Too cute Laura, and a quick page turner too boot! :0)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. I liked streamlining the repetitions (thanks to the word limit, I had to!)

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  16. Laura,
    This is just the cutest!!!! I'm in love with this story. You did an exceptional job!

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    1. Thanks, Penny! Maple was the perfect translation of the Gingerbread Man for me. There is no way I can feel guilty eating maple!

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  17. A truly SWEET story & great retelling of a classic story. Mouth is watering just thinking about it!

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    1. Ha ha! I had to be careful not to drool on my computer while typing :)

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  18. I love this and especially like the ending with the leaf mold. Funny!! I'm also into fairy tales, fractured and otherwise. Great idea!

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  19. lol this is so cute, Laura :) I did a remake of The Gingerbread Man for PEI lol it's hard to get the word count down so great job there too! :)

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    1. That's something I love about Susanna's contests. They give me lots of practice revising, cutting, tightening, and trimming my stories. Great tools for writers to hone.

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  20. Very clever!! I LOVE Vermont...what a beautiful state. And I love the whole maple sugar making process. Thanks for sharing this...

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