Merida And The Princess DollMerida and the Princess Doll
By John Paul Dodds
As the cameras stopped rolling, Mickey Mouse came dancing out of the eponymously named House of Mouse.
Some primal mouse instinct warned him and he jumped back a second before a pair of hands reached out of the bush to grab him. “C'mere ye lying wee rodent, ye”. The heavy Scots brogue was instantly recognisable. Mickey backed up as a rather peeved looking Merida clambered out of the bush she'd been hiding in. “Errr... Hi... M...M...Merida”, Mickey mumbled, trying and failing to sound his normal, cheery self. “Err... What can I do for you”, he sounded brighter, but it was a brittle, false brightness. As if he already knew why she was here.
“Whit d' ye call this?!”, she demanded, thrusting the foot long cardboard box into his hands. Mickey looked down at the box, and through the clear plastic window, at it's contents. “H-heh”, mickey laughed nervously, “Well, it's y
“Well, that certainly tops mine!” Hansel admitted.
“You named your ovens too?” Karin giggled. “I thought that I was the only one to do that! Umm what do you, I mean what did you call yours? Do you mind telling me?”
“Like I said,” Hansel uneasily replied. “your name is better than the ones I chose. They’re…Wheat and Rye.”
Karin stifled a laugh and covered her mouth with her hands her cheeks blushing slightly.
“Sorry!” she gasped. “It’s just that those names are so…”
“Stupid?” Hansel added.
“Cute!” Karin corrected.
“Cute is good.” Hansel admitted. He edged closer to the oven. “Did you make her?”
There was a momentary silence before Karin replied:
“Actually she was my grandmothers oven. My mother rejected her, Herz that is.”
There was a magnetic presence about the oven, something special that drew Hansel toward its iron door. Gently, respectfully he placed his right hand on the door. There was an energy about the oven, an almost life like quality about it.
“She’s something special all right.” Hansel confessed with a sigh. “What a gift! A splendid inheritance…”
Hansel was interrupted mid-sentence. The oven door squeaked and popped open.
Karin gasped and Hansel stepped back.
“SORRY! SORRY!” Hansel apologetically interjected. “I didn’t mean to, I shouldn’t have…”
“She, she opened for you!” Karin whispered. “She didn’t, she wouldn’t open for mother!”
Hansel glanced back at his host. She was still staring at the oven, her brow furrowed in thought. When her eyes focused on Hansel a warm smile graced her lips.
“Would you like to bake with me?”
Their hands moved together, their fingers quick and nimble. Two minds in unison, two hearts working as one. It wasn’t work for Hansel and somehow, in some way he knew it wasn’t work for Karin either. It was a labor-less act of love. They mixed, they kneaded, and they kneaded again. They worked up a loaf and placed it onto a long wooden bread plate.
Karin handed the plate to Hansel her gentle face aglow.
“I want you to do the honors!”
Hansel was about to speak but Karin insisted. Very grateful he took the plate. He eased the oven door open and slid the loaf into the oven. He pulled the plate out and closed the door. Karin clapped her hands together a broad smile on her rosy cheeked face.
The fragrant aroma of the newly baked loaf was almost intoxicating. The flavor was so rich, so complex that the two bakers were left speechless. They sat on her front room window seat her hands over his.
“I never thought, I never could have dreamed that anyone, anyone else would ever get Herz to work with them! Then again,” she added. “I never would have imagined, though I kind of really hoped, that someone would be able to find my little cottage!” She gently and tenderly patted his hands. “I know this may sound silly, but I don’t, I really don’t think that this was all just a coincidence. The blight, your trip through the forest, finding my cottage. ”
“Fate?” Hansel mused aloud. At first glance the thought did appear to be more than a little far-fetched. On the other hand he couldn’t help but wonder: what were the odds against his happening upon Karin and her cottage? A grain blight happens to send a baker through the woods, only to run into a baker in a very small, very well hidden cottage in the woods. An enchanted cottage made of bread. And again how likely was it that the one guest, the one person to find that cottage is able to work with an oven as finicky, as selective as the one Karin owned?
“I believe that you were led here for a reason!” She placed her had along the side of his face. “I think that we were meant to find each other!” Hansel felt his face grow warmer and warmer. “I never thought, I was afraid that no one else would ever, could ever get Herz to work with them! But you,” she said as her eyes teared up. “You did! I’ve never baked for anyone! Ever! Than you came! Till now,” she sighed. “There’s only been my mother in my life. My mother rejected Herz and Herz rejected my mother.” A forlorn look fell over her graceful features. A deep heartfelt sorrow appeared to weigh her down. “But not you!” She smiled warmly at him as a tear made a moist trail down her right cheek. “That has to mean something! There has to be a reason!”
Hansel thought her words over very carefully. He then asked:
“What do you think? What do you think this all means?”
Karin looked off toward the miniscule kitchen. She was silent for a good ten minutes before she finally replied.
“I’ve always wanted to bake for people.” She faced him again. “Other people I mean. I’ve dreamed about sharing my creations! Showing people just how wonderful, just how special my “Herz” really is!”
Right or wrong, Hansel couldn’t help but admire Karin. As she spoke, as she shared her vision, her very presence seemed to radiate with compassionate, her face shine with the light of heartwarming love.
Hansel was so caught up in Karin and her message that he was caught completely off guard. The entire cottage shook, the air turned bitterly cold, and the lamp lights went out. The peaceful silence was rent asunder by a high pitched, bone chilling cackle. Hansel felt Karin squeeze his hands.
“I’M SORRY! I’M SO SORRY!” SHE SOBBED. “I SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN SO SELFISH, I SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN SO STUPID! SHE’S HERE AND YOU’RE IN TERRIBLE DANGER!! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT SHE’LL DO!!”
“Who?!” Hansel asked. “Who’s here!?”
|He's more machine now than man...No one knows from whence he came. He is an enigma, to all who have met him, and few can recall having done so. No one knows just who...or what he is. man? Machine? Or something else entirely?|