As a storyteller I am a lover of the classics, three pigs, three bears etc. Stories we all know, stories we all love, and stories I grew up with. One of my favorites is the story of the Gingerbread Man. Loved that story when I was a kid and love it even more as a storyteller. I tell the original version, not any of the newer ones that have been written like “The Gingerbread Boy”, “The Gingerbread Girl”, The Gingerbread Certified Public Accountant” (might have made that last one up!)
Of course while I do tell the original version, I do make one slight change to the ending. As you may remember, at the end of “The Gingerbread Man” (SPOILER ALERT) he gets eaten by a fox. Now I have nothing wrong with the ending because after all he was only a cookie, so no real harm was done. However I made the change after an incident that happened early on on my storytelling career.
When I started out, I would tell “The Gingerbread Man” with the original death by fox ending. No one seemed to mind and no one complained so I kept telling it that way. Then one day I was in a preschool in Andover telling tales and I decided to end with “The Gingerbread Man”. It was going very well and the kids were enjoying it until I got to the end. After the fox ate G-Man, the happy looks on the faces of the kids turned to shock and horror. Hands covered mouths, eyes bugged out and some kids started to cry.
Now I was used to individual kids having bad reactions to parts of stories, but never had I witnessed mass hysteria. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was going on. Then one of the kids who was crying started to point at the wall behind me. I turned around and there across the back wall was a mural depicting the adventures of the Gingerbread man who was very much alive. I also noticed that hanging on a hook at the end of the mural was a Gingerbread man puppet. I found out later that he was the classroom mascot and the teachers used the puppet during transition time and to tell stories before nap. So I had pretty much just killed their hero and ruined their tiny little lives. I felt really bad and tried to explain my way out of things but no one was buying it. I left feeling horrible with a group of sad kids in my wake. Needless to say I was never invited back to that preschool.
That was a bout 12 years ago and all should be forgotten. However if there are any kids out there who were at that show and are still traumatized from my tale I sincerely apologize. Rest assured the Gingerbread Man did NOT get eaten. He kept on running and is now retired and living in a nice condo in Tampa. You can also rest assured that from that day on my version of the story has been amended so in the end the Gingerbread man and everyone else lives happily ever after!
– Big Joe