Friday, June 14, 2013

The Bread Wife, Part 4

Here it is! The last, and longest section of The Bread Wife. For anyone who hasn't been following the story, here are links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

And there you have it! Thanks to everyone who read along with this little serialized short story experiment, and I hope you enjoyed following along. Feel free to post thoughts and reflections in the comments section below! I plan to make a free printable pdf version available here soon.

A final short note: The bakery in this story, as well as the baker and his daughter, are loosely inspired by a little bakery in Pontremoli called "Forno Tarantola" (yeah, I'm pretty sure that's "Tarantula Bakery") which is run by a very tough, lovely baker girl named Chiara. Chiara is not only a baker, but a power lifter. Somehow it all just fits.

Finally, my own "bread wife" (pictured below, and also very tough). Anna bakes several loaves a week. Some we eat and some goes out in trade for milk or produce. It's all pretty wonderful and inspiring and ...aromatic.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is simply too wonderful for words! It needs to be shared with everyone! I love you, Hans Christian Anderson the Second!! 😊Mama

Anthony VanArsdale said...

Stupendous story! And I like the transition between color and grayscale illustrations. Wonderful flow!

Anonymous said...
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Your Pal Carey said...

Ben, that was marvelous. I would like a little more exposition about why the baker (or his daughter) wanted to test the miller with the bread wife thing. Why did that experiment gain the baker's trust? Maybe I missed something. But what a great story! What a lovely little fairy tale! Thanks!

Harriet Lane said...

Lovely tale! I thought it had a lovely Russian "Baba Yaga" feel in the beginning (only not so dark)and ended in a Brer Rabbit-ish sort of way. Wonderful!
I do agree with Carey though,that the last part could be explained a bit more clearly. I got it, but I had to stop and think, and in tales such as these the stopping and thinking is best done after the story.
It is a beautiful story, thank you!

Ben Hatke said...

Thanks for reading!

Carey and Harriet: You are both right. I think there are about 2 paragraphs of exposition missing near the end. I went back and forth about what to do about that and ultimately left it alone.

This is one of those cases when I might just go back and make a few small changes even though I've posted the whole story.

Thanks!

Fr Matthew Green said...

Thank you for writing and sharing this truly delightful story. I didn't have any problem figuring out the last part, but I can see that a little more explanation might be good. I hope you get this into print and make lots of sales!

SAC said...

This wonderful! And I know exactly why the baker set out to test the miller-- he would have come up with a reason to test him no matter what his profession was. (My brother-in-law keeps talking about setting up a Gestapo-style interrogation room in the basement once his oldest girl gets old enough to date.)

Melanie said...

That was a great story. And to think the whole idea about making a wife out of bread was a test to see if the miller could marry the baker's daughter.

the mighty guin said...

Lovely story and illustrations. I especially liked the contrast of the black & white with the color pastries at the end.

Random question: did you discover a favorite pastry to illustrate, and if so which?

Ben Hatke said...

Oh croissants, definitely.

Cory Kemak said...

This was a fantastic short story!! I felt it was quite Gaiman-like, with a light-hearted tone! I found myself reading it in his voice at times (although this might be because of all the short stories of his I have been listening to lately)

Excellent work!

Ben Hatke said...

Aw, thanks, Cory! I'm making a few little edits to the story and then I'm going to post it all in one place with a downloadable PDF so everyone can have a copy.

Bill Boerman-Cornell said...

Now THAT is an ending. Nicely done, Ben. You should run it past a publisher (could someone at First-Second ahve a word with the folks at MacMillan children's?) Of course, it is really the sort of story that adults like (maybe even more than kids) but that is okay -- adults buy the books. Now if you could somehow add a little kid who watches the whole thing and is in on the joke...

Ben Hatke said...

Glad you liked it, BC! I was thinking of this story as more on the grownup side of all-ages anyway. What I'd like to do is pt together a little book of short fable-style stories like this.

Saint Tweet said...

What a great story. Will we see it in the next volume of Tales from the Bohemian Highway?

Maybe you could introduce the daughter in an initial establishing shot of the village that includes the bakery. With her behind the counter and not the focus of the illo the reader wouldn't know if she was the baker's wife, the daughter, or just the bakery shop-girl. I would think that would be enough to fill in the blanks.

Tim Canny said...

That last comment was from me. One day I'll learn how to use this internet and stop posting as my other online personas.

BTW I'm looking forward to seeing more of your commission work. ;)

Ben Hatke said...

Not to worry, TC, more commissions will be posted ;-)

Oh, and not a bad idea showing the bakery girl at the beginning. It-s funny posting what ended up being a rough draft online. We'll see how it works with a few little edits...

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