Hansel: Inasmuch as gingerbread is a man made substance, and we are men (in the general sense of the term), there is no reason we should not eat this gingerbread house. No beast in this realm or any other feasts upon gingerbread, and thus by doing so ourselves we shan’t be upsetting nature’s delicate balance.
Gretel: It has never been my contention that in partaking of this gingerbread house we would be upsetting the local wildlife. Indeed, I wholeheartedly agree with you that this gingerbread house was man made. Sugar cookies are not created by any known natural force, anomalous or not, and yet we have enough here to shingle a sizable roof. Likewise, peppermint swirls are no natural occurrence, and yet they are used liberally here as decor. Certainly this shelter was man made, and that is precisely the reason why we should not eat it. If it were made by some man, then he presumably made it for either shelter, sustenance, or both, and it would therefore be immoral of us to help ourselves to his bounty.
Hansel: I agree-
Gretel: Then the matter is settled.
Gretel: I rescind my prior evaluation of the matter.
Hansel: …this gingerbread house has clearly been abandoned for some time. Notice that the icing, which I can only presume was placed along the seams in lieu of proper caulking, has crumbled and flaked due to inattention. Likewise, the rows of gumdrops along the doorjambs and windowsills are incomplete, suggesting that this gingerbread house is in a bit of a state of disrepair. Surely, any interest this candied structure’s fabled creator once had has waned considerably- it has been disowned. This, dear Gretel is a wasted morsel that belongs to no man. Let us eat it.
Gretel: Steele your hunger for but a second, brother- Do you agree that this breaded hut once belonged to somebody?
Gretel: Let us refer to this somebody as “The Owner” from here on out, for sake of ease of reference. Can you or I rightfully claim to be The Owner?
Gretel: In that neither of us can claim to be The Owner, can either one of us claim to know his intentions?
Hansel: Not directly, but as I’ve pointed out, we may infer them from-
Gretel: I did not ask for inference, I asked for direct knowledge of The Owner’s intentions. Can we know that?
Hansel: Aye, we cannot.
Gretel: In that we cannot know The Owner’s intentions, how are we to know that The Owner has not run to the candy shop for materials to mend his crumbling home? These candy cane columns look newer than the rest of the structure here, which may indicate that this gingerbread house is in a state of ongoing improvement or renovation. Perhaps The Owner is fully aware of his hut’s dilapidated state and is in the process of fixing it, slowly but surely. Were this to be the case, and The Owner were to return home, surely he would be cross to find you and I sitting here, bellies full and sweet tooths sated at his expense.
Hansel: Certainly, if that were the case, but I must protest…
Gretel: Shh, brother Hansel! Behold- a shape stirs through that sugared windowpane! Perhaps it is The Owner!
Hansel: Oh- the peanut brittle door is swinging open… An old woman! She sees us! Perhaps she is hostile. We should follow our breadcrumb trail back to the village, post haste!
Gretel: Nonsense- an old woman being hostile. Look- she beckons us forth. Let us trust this kindly crone, and perhaps you shall get to taste this house yet!
Hansel: Very well then, I shall trust your judgment… Is that roast flesh I smell?
Thank you once again, Alex Berg, for this entertaining post and Jeroen Krasen for the Gingerbread House photo.