Sisters, we are gathered here today to mourn the passing of one of our own: Our beloved Hildegarde. I remember when Hildegarde was just a little witch. Like the rest of us, she had big dreams of making her mark on the world. She wanted to be the most famous witch of all time. And, in a way, she succeeded. Even so soon after her passing, her story is already being told all over the country. And it seems likely that, in a very short time, it will extend even beyond that. After all, it is an unusual story:
Imagine two small children, lost in the woods. Their frankly pathetic idea of leaving a trail of breadcrumbs to guide them home having failed, they were entirely at the mercy of the forest. Then, lo and behold, they come upon a house made entirely of gingerbread, candy and sweets. They begin eating with reckless abandon, never giving a thought to the resident of the house, our dear, departed Hildegarde. She emerges from the house, appears to the children as a kindly old woman, invites them inside for more treats. Then she springs on them. Locking up the boy and forcing the girl to feed her brother until he’s fat enough to eat. Her plan backfires, however, when the little girl tricks her and pushes her into her own oven where she burns to death.
And now, on the very site where her gingerbread house once stood, we are gathered to mourn her, to commend what’s left of her to the earth, and to ask why? Why did she die? Why is the world so cruel? And why, oh why, was Hildegarde so stupid?
I mean, really, what was she thinking? First of all, who builds a house out of gingerbread? If the kids hadn’t shown up when they did, the whole thing would have spoiled. Parts of it probably already were spoiling. The walls were full of milk and eggs. For all we know, she would have died soon anyway living in such an unhealthy environment.
Some of you may have heard that she broke her glasses shortly after abducting the children. So, not being able to see, she had the little boy hold out his finger so she could feel it to tell when he was fat enough to cook. You know how he tricked her? He used a chicken bone. Again, I have to ask, how could she be so stupid? She didn’t think it was odd that the boy never gained weight? That he was, in fact, losing weight? And that he had no skin?
And, now, we come to the little girl. She pretended not to know if the oven was hot enough. Hildegarde, inexplicably believing her, stuck her own head in the oven. Thereby positioning herself perfectly for a small girl to push her in and burn her alive.
Yes, I know, this is her funeral and we’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but come on! We’re all thinking it. Would any of us have been that stupid? Have made it so easy for the good guys to win? Done everything but paint a bullseye on our own foreheads? If you can be outwitted by two little kids who think a trail of breadcrumbs in a forest won’t get eaten the minute you turn your back, then you deserve to be burned to a crisp until your friends have nothing but a few charred bones to bury.
All right! All right! I’m leaving.
I’m not wrong, though.