Jennings & Ponder: World Tales & Celtic Music
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the gingerbread man


This is a great story that everybody knows and nobody tells. If it's told well, it can make a BIG hit at a student storytelling assembly.

The opening uses a little mime-- rolling out the dough, cutting out the man, making the eyes, and so forth-- very small, nothing elaborate, but it will pull your audience in. Of course, you'll use whatever decorative elements you think are right.Then, look in the oven and get startled back.

Many beginning tellers are bothered by repetitive elements; think of them as being like the chorus of a song; a good chorus can be sung over and over, and everytime it comes around, it's something to enjoy.

The Gingerbread Man, himself, has to be very obnoxious, or the audience will be upset when he gets eaten. Very bold & snotty, with a nya nya nya-nya nya tone to the voice that can cross over into a kind of chant-like song with the "run, run" rhyme. The tune I suggest is Rain Rain Go Away, which, when I was a kid, we also used for "Billy's it/ Counterfeit/ Doesn't know how to get out of it"-- a taunting cadence, in other words.

One of my 6th grade storytelling students found no trouble getting a hundred and fifty younger children to sing the "run, run" song with him. Audiences will also help out with the names of the animals.

The teller can choose any animals s/he wants for the "Stop! stop little gingerbread man!"s, but they should be ones s/he enjoys imitating. Don't say "oink, oink"-- be a pig for a moment; nothing knocks out a young audience like a spirited animal imitation.

The end of the story:
Become the sly fox; show with your shoulders that you're swimming, and turn your head back so you can talk over your shoulder: "Oh---little gingerbread man... the water's getting kinda deep.. I think you'd better climb up onto my.... butt." (or whatever) Take that last pause, it's a very useful one, and builds well. And, towards the end, you can do a little two-fingered "walking" up your own neck and head. The fox speaks his last lines to his own forehead, rolling his eyes up to show the whites. Then the two fingers -- doop doop doop doop-- out six inches or so in front of your nose. The final "schlop!" choreography is hard to write out, but easy to demonstrate.


The Gingerbread Man

this version copyright © 1996 by Tim Jennings

This text is shareware. You may copy and distribute it freely, as long as you copy the whole thing, including the contact information, this disclaimer, the header notes, and the copyright. If you find a use for it, let me know.


Once upon a time there was a little old woman and a little old man. The little old woman thought she'd make a gingerbread man. She rolled out the dough, and cut out the shape, and she put raisins for his eyes, and peppermints for his teeth, and put icing on his head for the hair. Then she put him in the oven, and when it smelled good, she opened up the door to take a peek and

--- Yooop!---

out jumped the gingerbread man.

"Stop! Stop, little gingerbread man!" said the little old lady. "I want to eat you!"
"No!" said the little gingerbread man. "I can run away from you!"

"Run, run, fast as you can!
Can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!"

And away he ran!

He ran till he got outside, where he saw the little old man. And the little old man said, "Stop! Stop little gingerbread man! I want to eat you!"

And the little gingerbread man said: "NO! I ran away from the little old woman, and I can run away from you too!

Run, run, fast as you can!
Can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!"


and away he ran!

He ran till he came to the pigsty. And the pig said

"(Oink Oink)-- Stop! Stop little gingerbread man! I want to eat you!"

But the gingerbread man said, "NO! I ran away from the little old woman, I ran away from the little old man, and I can run away from you too!

Run, run, fast as you can!
Can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!"


and away he ran!


He ran till he came to a house. And in front of the house was a dog. And the dog said, "STOP! Stop stop stop stop stoooooooooop! Little gingerbread man! I want to eat you!"

But the gingerbread man said, "NO! I ran away from the little old woman, and the little old man, and a pig, and I can run away from you too!"

Run, run, fast as you can!
Can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!"


and away he ran!


He ran till he came to a field full of cows. And the cows said,

"Mooooo! Stoooooooop! Stoooooooop little gingerbread man. We want to eat you!"

But the gingerbread man said, "NO! I ran away from the little old woman, I ran away from the little old man, and a pig, and a dog, and I can run away from you too!

Run, run, fast as you can!
Can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!"


and away he ran!

He ran till he came to a river. And next to the river was a fox. The fox said, "Hello little gingerbread man."

The gingerbread man said, "HELLO! I ran away from the little old woman, I ran away from the little old man, and a pig, and some cows, and I can run away from you too!

Run, run, fast as you can!
Can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!"


"But," said the fox, "I never run. And I don't want to eat you!"

The gingerbread man said

Run, run, fast as you can!
Can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!"


The fox said, "Run all you want, I'm not going to chase you. But-- I would like to ask you a question."

The gingerbread man said, "What?"

The fox said, "How do figure you're going to get across that stream without getting wet? I mean, if you get wet, you'll get soggy, right?"

The gingerbread man didn't say anything, but he looked very thoughtful.

The fox said, "I've got an idea."

The gingerbread man said, "What?"

The fox said, "I'm going to swim across, right now. If you want, you can hitch a ride on my tail."

The gingerbread man said, "OK," and grabbed the fox's tail. The fox started to wade into the water.

After a few steps, the fox said, "Oh, little gingerbread man. The water is getting kind of deep. I'm afraid you might get wet. Why don't you climb up onto my back?" The gingerbread man looked, and said, "Gee, the water is getting kind of deep, ok," and he climbed up onto the fox's back.

After a few more steps, the fox said, "Oh, little gingerbread man, the water is getting even deeper, I'm afraid you might get wet. Why don't you climb up onto my-- neck?" The gingerbread man looked, and said, "Gee the water is getting kind of deep, ok," and he climbed up onto the fox's neck.

After a few more steps, the fox said, "Oh, little gingerbread man, the water is getting even deeper, I'm afraid you might get wet. Why don't you climb up onto my-- head?" The gingerbread man looked, and said, "Gee the water is getting kind of deep, ok," and he climbed up onto the fox's head.

After a few more steps, the fox said, "Oh, little gingerbread man, the water is getting even deeper, I'm afraid you might get wet. Why don't you climb up onto my-- nose?" The gingerbread man looked, and said, "Gee the water is getting kind of deep, ok," and he climbed up onto the fox's nose.

And the fox went-- SHLLLURP!-- and that was the end of the gingerbread man.


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Tim Jennings and Leanne Ponder
PO Box 522 Montpelier VT 05601
email: tim@folktale.net