The Trouble With Candy Houses, By Heather Talty

This is the thing people do not seem to understand: it is never okay to eat someone else’s house. There is just no excuse for it, okay? I mean, I don’t go around gnawing on bricks or vinyl siding, right? Chewing on my house is no different, even though it might be made of gingerbread and gumdrops and peppermint candies. I still live here. I still have to clean up the mess if it rains after someone has chewed through my walls.

Not to say that makes it right, what I do. It isn’t nice, I know. Maybe I am a little bit of a witch, after all.

How did it start? With children, of course. Maybe I had them in mind once upon a time, when I first drew the plans, when I selected my building materials, when I watched the house erected in front of me. For children, yes. For my children. Not strange freeloading children. So I had my candy house built deep into the wood, where no one else could find it. Where I and my family, when I had one, would live in peace.

But somehow, the other ones found it. I would hear them in the morning while the birds chirped, crunching, licking, breaking, chewing, just outside my window. I would listen to the floors creak and crack as I fell asleep, wondering if this would be the night my walls collapsed around me.

The animals knew to stay away, knew not to disturb my home. Why then, did the children, supposedly intelligent and sympathetic beings, have to be reminded? Once I heard a great crack, and through the hole that formed in my living room, an angelic face stared at me for just a moment before she opened her mouth and crammed my door knocker into it.

Sometimes I would run to the door, my hair wild, my nightgown askew, my broom waving wildly in my hands, and they would run screaming. Witch, they’d cry, as their footsteps died away.

But they would come back.

In the night, in the early morning, I would hear them again, chomping and chewing and gnashing and smacking. And then some part of my home would be gone forever, because a candy foundation is not as easy to replace as one might think.

I had to do something, and I will admit I was a bit uninspired at first. Making it up as I went along, really.

During a particularly loud and obnoxious visit, I slammed my door wide open, and was surprised to see just one boy, but one with the audacity to give my window treatments another lick as I watched him.

“Why don’t you come in, boy?” I asked. He shrugged and followed me inside.

I started with a scolding, your usual, “How dare you disturb someone else’s home, your mother would be so disappointed,” that sort of thing. He did not look at me as I spoke, and was back bright and early the next day to sample my flowerbeds. Sometime during that second scolding, I had the idea: I would scare him, the way only a witch could.

While he sat at my table and stared blankly at the wall, I fed him the most full, fattening things I could find and heat up. A slice of chocolate cake. A pork sandwich with a generous helping of cheese slathered over it. A potato with a stick of butter melted inside. He simply ate, said thanks, and went to leave.

“Come back later if you feel hungry,” I told him. “I would love to have you for dinner.” I tried to put as much emphasis as I could on the word you and on the word dinner. He left rather quickly. But if I thought my plan could work that fast, I was mistaken. He did indeed show up that very night for dinner. Luckily I had a fair amount of leftovers available, and he left stuffed.

After a few nights of the same routine, I knew I had to be even more direct. I refused to let him leave. I fed him all day. I made repeated statements about getting him nice and plump, until finally I had to throw a pan of broiled ham on the floor and ask him to stick his head in my oven to see if the other one was done.

Luckily the oven was off, because he did it without question.

Finally, I grabbed him, shook him by the shoulders and said, “I eat children, okay! Boys like you. I am going to eat you for dinner, soon!”

“Literally?” he asked.

“Literally,” I replied. He thanked me for a lovely time, and I never saw him again.

After him, there were, of course, others, and over time, I refined my technique. I started dropping hints right away, from the moment the children came in for their first snack. I noted daily progress in weight gain in a small black book, and left unclaimed toys and clothes strewn about the house. Later on, I would try for two children, and only feed one, hoping to arouse suspicion in the one not chosen. I kept several in cages during their stay.

Eventually, it worked. Word spread about the witch, the monster, the cannibal, the horror who used her candy house to ensnare tasty children to eat. They stayed away long enough for me to do the work I needed, to re-build, re-glaze.

Until today. Today, a boy and girl sit just outside, picking sour candies off of my new windowsill. I wonder, if things had turned out differently, if I would have had a boy or a girl, or one of each.

I decide to start with the boy.

They look up at me when the door swings open, sticky sweetness smeared across their mouths, grubby hands hiding their spoils behind their backs. “Dear children,” I say. “Would you like to come in?”

Heather Talty is a school librarian living in New York City. Currently recovering from summer vacation, she spends as much time as she can re-doing her website of twisted fairy tales  and working on what she thinks are middle grade novels. Visit her alter ego at



"Beauty and the Old Maid (1) 50 to 1 (1) A Fanciful Twist (1) A Father's Weakness (1) A Modern Tale of Today's Young Bell (1) A Royal Awakening (1) A Servant's Tale (1) About Roses (1) Affective Disenchantment (1) Aisling Burke (3) Alexandra Seidel (2) Alexandrea Seidel (1) Allerleirauh (1) Allison Hunter-Frederick (1) Amanda Marlowe (4) Amy Rensberger (2) And So (1) and Tahlia (1) and the Flowers (1) Anna Marie Catoir (1) apathy (4) Ariel Woodruff (4) Armless Maiden (1) Art Magick (1) artists (1) Ashley Veemuri (1) authors (1) Avil Beckford (2) Awake to Fate (2) Basile (1) Beastly (1) Beauty and Beast Comment Winner (2) Beauty and the Beast (25) Beauty and the Beast Feast (1) Beauty and the Beast have a daughter (1) Beauty and the Beast writing contest winner (2) Beauty and the Beast writing contests (3) Beauty and the Book Reviews (1) Beauty Awakens (1) Beauty Haunts the Beast (1) Before the Dawn (1) Ben Langhinrichs (4) Ben Loory (2) Beyond the Happy Ending (1) Bigfoot (1) Black Sheep (2) Blog Commment Contest (2) Blogger Beta Trouble (1) Bonita and the Hacienda (1) Bonus Story in Enchanted Conversation (1) Breanna Teintze (2) Briar and Rose Enchanted Conversation (2) Brittany Roshelle Davis (1) Broken (1) By Heather Talty (1) Cameron Dokey (1) Cathy C. Hall (2) Cathy McGuire (1) Cecelia Myers (4) Cinderella writing contest (1) Claire Massey (3) Contest Promotion Winner (1) contributors (1) Cooking Children With Witch Wanda (1) Cosmos Online (1) curses (1) D.L. Ashliman (1) Deadline (1) Debbie Cowens (1) Deborah walker (4) (1) DL Ashliman (1) Dog-Ear Tales (1) Dorlana Vann (1) Easter Christopher (1) EC Mermaid Issue Contest (1) Edward Frederick Brewton (1) Eisenkopf (1) Elizabeth Creith (1) Em D'Sylvia (1) Emily Balivet (1) Encha (1) Enchanted Conversation (36) Enchanted Conversation Volume One Issue Four (1) Eric Pazdziora (1) Erik Tracy (1) Eternity (1) Ethna (1) Etsy (3) Eva Eliav (3) Expectations (1) Eyes As Blue As Cornflowers (1) Fairy In Stilettos (1) fairy tale blogs (1) Fairy Tale Contest (1) fairy tale controversy (1) Fairy Tale Food (2) fairy tale magazine (12) fairy tale retellings (1) fairy tales (2) Farida Dowler (1) Finding Beauty (2) First Queen's Maid (1) Foam on the Sea (1) Frances MacNair (1) Francesca Lia Block (1) Geese (1) Gerri Leen (5) goblins (1) Grimms (1) Gustave Dore (1) Gypsy Thornton (2) Hanse (1) Hansel and Gretel Issue (10) Happily Ever After (3) Henry Meynell Rheam (1) Her Father's Tale (1) His Soul's Inspiration (1) Home Again (1) Home Again Jiggety-Jig (1) Home to the Sea (1) I am A Beast (1) Inner Smile (1) Into the Forest and Through the Woods (1) Issue Four (1) J.A. Grimshaw (1) J.W. Waterhouse (1) Jack Nemo (1) Jacqueline West (1) Janet Bucklew (2) Jazz Sexton (1) Jennifer Liu (2) Jennifer Povey (2) Jim Baen's Universe (1) John Anster Fitzgerald (1) John C. Mannone (2) John Collier (1) John Patrick Pazdziora (1) John R. Neill (1) John Roddam Spencer-Stanhope (1) Jude Tulli (4) Juleigh Howard-Hobson (1) Just In Case (1) K. Curran Mayer (1) Kaitlin Stahl (3) Kaliedotrope (1) Katie Lovett (2) Katrina Robinson (1) Kay Nielsen (1) Keyan Bowes (1) Knives Then Foam (1) Lamentation for a Little Mermaid (1) Laura Garrison (3) Layout Trouble (1) Like Flies on the Wall (1) Linda (1) Little Brier-Rose (1) Little Hans (1) Little mermaid (1) Lory Widmer Hess (1) Lucia's Wish (1) Lynnette Wissink (2) Madame T's (1) Magic Kiss (1) Manley and the Missing Link (1) Marcus Stone Sleeping Beauty Writing Contest winners (1) Margaret Evans Price (1) Maria Duffy (3) Marie Croke (1) Marine Warner (1) market for fairy tale writers (1) Martin Willitts Jr (1) Megan Arkenberg (1) Melisande (1) Melusina (1) Membrane 12 (1) Mermaid Contest Winners (3) Mermaid Issue (2) Mermaid Menu. Claire Massey (1) Mermaids (1) Micro-Horror (1) Mike Berger (2) Mirror Dance (1) Moon (1) Nennillo and Nennella (1) New writing market (2) New Zealand (1) Nikki Hall (4) Norton Hint Fiction Anthology (1) Oceane (1) ogres (1) Olivia Arieti (1) Once Upon A Blog (1) Online Fairy Tale Journal (2) Ophelia's Remembrance (1) Paul McCloskey (2) Prince of Dreams (2) Pushcart Prize nominee (1) Robin McKinley (1) Roses on Snow (2) Rossetti Couture (1) Rotten Leaves Magazine (1) Sacred Texts (1) Samuel Valentino (4) Sarah Stasik (1) Sauce Robert (1) Scullery Boy Remembers (1) Seashell (1) Shannon Anthony (1) She Smiled (1) Sisterhood (1) Sleeping Beauty (13) Sleeping Beauty Unplugged (1) Sleeping Beauty Writing Contest (2) Sleeping Beauty Writing Contest winners (2) Sleeping Beauty's Dream (1) spindle (1) Staff Members (1) Steampunk (1) Stella Jones (1) Submission Requirements (1) Submissions Chosen (1) Sugar Cotaed Dreams (1) Sugarcoated (1) Sun (1) Table of Contents (4) Tahlia Merrill (5) Tales from the Moonlit Path (1) Teardrops (1) teen writing contest (1) The Blackpool Mermaid (2) The Blacksmith's Children (1) The Bride (2) The Diary of Beauty's Sister (1) The Enchanted Pig (1) The Fairy Speaks (1) The First Queen's Maid (1) The Fisherman's Tale (1) The Fleetness of Love (1) The Graphics Fairy (1) The Guardian (2) The Little Mermaid (2) The Little Mermaid's Secret Song (2) The Little Mermaid: A Lesson for Women (1) The Lost Mermaid (1) The Mermaid and the Stag (1) The Mermaid's Eldest Sister (1) The New Yorker (1) The Nixy (2) The Not-So-Little Mermaid (1) The Problem With Fairy Tales (1) The Rogue Rose (1) The Rose Deflowered (1) The Rosebud That Didn't Want to Bloom (1) The Schwarzwald Incident (1) The Sea Calls To Them All (1) The Sea Witch (1) The Sea Witch's Daughter (1) The Sea Witch's Tale (1) The Sideshow (1) The Sisters of the Sea (1) The Sleeping Beauty (1) The Stars Would Sing (1) The Trouble With Candy Houses (1) the Vase (1) The White Bird (1) The Woman (1) The Young Bride's Dream (1) Thea Hutcheson (1) Their Daughter Rose (1) Theresa Blake (1) Things That Cannot Be Eaten (1) Tiger In the Matchstick Box (1) To Dance on Swords (1) Torn (1) Twelth Fairy Confesses (1) Twisted Dreams (1) Twisted Legends (1) Two Sides To Every Story (1) V Magazine for Women (1) Valerie Koines Anderson (1) Volume One/Issue Two (1) Waking Belinda (1) What Wondrous Spells (2) Writing Contest for Hansel and Gretel (1) writing contests (9) www.EnchantedConversation.orgEnchanted Conversation submission requiremements (1) Wynne Huddleston (5) Yeti (1)