[Don’t miss your chance to enter the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition! Impress us with your best story in 1500 words or fewer. Deadline Dec. 15.]
December 12 is National Gingerbread House Day. Although ginger has been used across the world in baking and cooking since antiquity, gingerbread is thought to have originated in the Middle East and made its way to Europe during the Crusades. In the 13th century, German monks began to shape into different forms, and from there the practice spread first throughout Germany and then throughout Europe. In the 15th century, Queen Elizabeth I was said to have had gingerbread people made to look like some of her important guests.
Our contemporary idea of a gingerbread (or, originally, lebkuchen) house, however, came around in the early 1800s, evidently popularized by the Grimm’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel”—though gingerbread loaves were decorated to look like houses long before that.
The Writing Prompt
You (or a character, or perhaps two) have been enjoying a leisurely walk down a familiar wooded path for about an hour, when you suddenly realize that you no longer know where you are. Trusting that your current path will lead you back home—after all, it logically should—you turn around and head back the way you came. After a few moments, you conclude that you must have somehow strayed… because before you stands a structure that appears to be made of gingerbread.
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