The Farm

Old MacDonald is a gingerbread man. He is very old. But not as old as an old human would be.

Old MacDonald has a farm. On that farm he has a duck and a cow and a sheep and a goat and an unidentifiable animal that might very well be a lemur. They are all made out of gingerbread.

Next to old MacDonald’s farm is a river of molasses.

“It’s rising,” says old MacDonald, one day, after some measurements.

“Quack,” says the duck. “Quack quack.”

“It was all the rain in the candy mountains,” old MacDonald says. “It’s flooded the river.”

The molasses rises. A few days pass.

“It’s still rising,” says old MacDonald. So he builds a fence around the river. It’s a lovely white chocolate picket fence.

The molasses rises. It seeps through the fence. It sweeps up the duck. The duck quacks piteously.

“Duck!” cries old MacDonald, later that day. “You’re stuck!”

But there’s nothing he can do.

Molasses is cruel.

Old MacDonald thinks. Then he sets out sandbags. He sets out sandbags all around the river. They’re full of sugar. He could call them sugarbags. But he doesn’t. He calls them sandbags.

“Moo,” says the gingerbread cow. “Moo!”

It’s trying to warn him.

“Moo!” it says here.

The river rises. It seeps through the sugarbags. It swirls slowly into the cow’s barn. It carries the cow away.

“Moo!” it says there.

“Oh no!” cries old MacDonald. “You’re my best milking cow ever. Because there’s a little bit of milk in you!”

Milk makes a gingercow sweet.

Old MacDonald reaches from the river’s edge towards the cow. He risks his life against the molasses. “Take my hand!” cries old MacDonald. But the cow has no way to do so. It is swept slowly away.

“Moo,” it says, in the distance.

Molasses is cruel.

Old MacDonald builds a metal fence. He builds it with love so it’s extra strong. It surrounds the river on every side.

“Baa!” says the sheep.

“Bleat!” says the goat.

“Baa,” corrects the sheep.

“Bleat!” the goat declares obstinately.

The sheep sighs. “I leave you to your obviously incorrect sentiments,” it says, and stomps off to the other side of the pen.

“Bleat,” says the goat. It feels that it has won this confrontation. But then the molasses seeps deep into the ground. It seeps under the wall. It seeps into the pen. Now the goat does not know what to do.

“Bleat!” cries the goat. It attempts to eat the molasses. “Bleat!”

“Baa,” says the sheep.

The sheep does not help the goat eat against the tide. So the goat is swept up in the molasses. Then the sheep is swept up.

“Baa,” says the sheep again, only this time the sheep is not here but there.

Molasses is cruel.

“I will set fire to it,” says old MacDonald.

“Bam!” says the unidentified animal. It sounds nervous.

“I will set fire to it, and burn it away.”

So he does so. But the molasses is sluggish to burn. Mostly it caramelizes.

“I will rain nuclear devastation upon it,” says old MacDonald, as a form of escalation.

“Bam!” whimpers the unidentified animal, which is caught up in the molasses now and a likely incidental casualty of any nuclear barrage.

“But it’s the only way.”

“Bam…”

Old MacDonald looks into the unidentified animal’s pleading eyes. He realizes that he cannot do it.

Slowly, his shoulders sag. Some of the icing fades in his eyes.

He retreats. He goes to the hills. He watches from the hills as the molasses takes his farm.

The flood recedes, taking the animals and much of his furniture with it.

MacDonald returns home.

He has survived.

But molasses is cruel.

Old MacDonald is just one gingerbread man, and the world soon forgets his story.

But the children remember. And the gingerfolk remember. And the duck remembers, as it swirls slowly out to sea.

They’ll tell you, if you ask.

Molasses is cruel.

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