Modern Humorist - Hansel and Grendel
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ANSEL AND GRENDEL lived in the old oak woods with their father, a kindly woodcutter, and their mother, a gigantic evil monster with claws and fangs. Hansel took after his father, while Grendel took after her mother. One day a hero passing through the forest slew their mother, so the woodcutter decided to remarry. His new bride was a bitter woman and she didn't like Hansel and Grendel. After many months of extremely tense and unpleasant mealtime conversations, she took the woodcutter aside.

“Husband, it's been a very lean year for us. I don't think we can afford to feed the family, especially with Grendel eating forty pigs a day.”

“You are right,” the woodcutter sighed. “We all must tighten our belts and learn to do more with less.”

“Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of taking the children into the forest and leaving them to die.”

“No, no, I could never do that!”

“Oh, come on.”

“Well, if it’s really important to you.”

The next morning, the woodcutter awoke with a heavy heart, as he did every morning, because he had a megalocardiac condition. He led Hansel and Grendel deep into the forest, where he lied to them about their fate in a pathetically transparent fashion and ran away.

“Hansel, what are we going to do? How will we ever find our way home?” Grendel asked.

“Don't worry, Grendel, I suspected something was afoot, so I left a trail of breadcrumbs.”

“Oh, that's what those were for. I ate them.”

“Don't tell me you ate the trail of roast pigs as well!”

Grendel nodded, ashamed.

“This is terrible! Now we are sure to starve to death in the forest, unless you are somehow able to capture some wildlife with your razor-sharp claws and lightning-fast reflexes!”

“Wait, Hansel! Perhaps all is not lost! Look! A house made out of candy!” Hansel and Grendel could hardly believe their eyes.

“Grendel! What a delicious feast that house would make, if only we weren't diabetic.”

“Yes, it's really too bad. Let’s keep moving, for there is sure to be a house made of broccolini nearby.”

But what Hansel and Grendel did not know is that they had wandered into a planned community that was zoned only for candy houses. Although legislation was advancing in the city council that would allow for vegetable houses and vitamin supplement houses, it was sure to stall in committee for several months at least.

They continued on, eventually finding themselves in 10th-century Denmark, in the realm of the mighty king, Hrothgar. They stood in awe of his rough yet majestic castle, which was made entirely of candy.

“What is it with the candy already?” asked Grendel.

“Let's get out of here. This place gives me the creeps.”

Suddenly, a strapping young man emerged from, um, a box or something. “Halt, beast! I am Beowulf! I slew your mother, and I shall slay you, too!”

Grendel gasped as Hansel, who was quite upset at this remark, slapped Beowulf with a wrongful death suit that pretty much bankrupted him. And then they threw him in an oven, just for spite.

With Beowulf slain, Grendel ran excitedly to explore the castle. Hansel followed, finding gold, precious jewels, and thousands of Danish soldiers with their heads recently bitten off. Hansel and Grendel filled their pockets with as many jewels and heads as they could carry and trotted back into the woods to find their way home.

“How will we ever figure out how to get back, Hansel?”

“I don't know. I guess we'll just have to wander around aimlessly and hope that, by an incredible coincidence, we just happen to stumble across the correct path.”

But they never did.

Eventually they settled down in North Carolina and used the jewels as a down payment on a Dairy Queen franchise (Note: possible translation error here).

More by Francis Heaney:
Holy Tango of Poetry
Modern Day Hobo Signs
First Draft: Aphorisms

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