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
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)!