The Gingerbread Man - A Short Story
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The Gingerbread Man - A Short Story

The questions persisted, and this brought him manifold anxieties.

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The Gingerbread Man - A Short Story
orig06.deviantart.net

In a small, indolent village at the end of the world, there lived a feeble old baker and his wife. The baker and his wife bore no children during the course of their marriage, and they grew lonely.

One day, a grand idea sparked in the mind of the old woman, and she decided it was time for some company. She pulled from the cupboard a bag of flour and gathered eggs laid by the few chickens she owned—these were the best eggs in the village, mind you, and the flour was of a fine quality. She collected sugar and cinnamon and mixed all of these ingredients together with the water from the well down the road. Lore had it that this well possessed water imbued with the magic of an ancient wizard, but this was merely a story told by mothers to sleepless children.

So the old woman mended these ingredients until they formed a hearty dough, and she molded it into the shape of a small man, soon to be a gingerbread man. She drew a face on the dough man with frosting and added gumdrops for buttons.

When the small figure was complete, the old woman and her husband looked upon the creation and felt that it was good. The woman placed the dough man in the oven and baked it to her heart’s content. A sweet aroma perfused their humble dwelling, and the old baker and his wife dozed off for a short but most invigorating nap.

After a time, the old woman was awakened by a faint tapping sound. She regained her senses and found herself staring straight into the deep, black frosting eyes of her gingerbread friend—he was gently knocking on her forehead.

A feeling came over her. She was not shocked but pleased. The old baker awoke and they both found themselves staring into the gingerbread man’s imploring eyes.

After an intense silence dissipated, the diminutive man questioned the old couple, beseeching them to explain the circumstances of his existence. The old woman revealed everything to him—that she was lonely and, quite simply, bored with this loneliness.

But she too was confounded. She could not explain why he was walking and talking and pondering his own existence.

After a profound and lengthy discussion, the gingerbread man dashed to the door with remarkable speed, leaving behind a tasty trail of sugar and cinnamon. He proclaimed to the old couple that he would travel to the ends of the earth, seeking out the answers he yearned for. The gingerbread man promised he would not forget the old baker and his wife, and thanked them for their kindness.

Among the birds and the trees, the gingerbread man quickly learned that he could run faster than any creature who crossed his path, and his strength was quite remarkable. Ingredients of the purest quality coursed through his sugary limbs and gumdrop buttons. The gingerbread man knew this, and it pleased him. But the satisfaction he derived from these impressive abilities was fleeting.

The same existential questions persisted, and this brought him manifold anxieties.

TO BE CONTINUED...

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