www.manythings.org/voa/wm

Terms to Chew Over: 'Hansel and Gretel' Like You've Never Heard It


Download MP3   (Right-click or option-click the link.)

AA: I'm Avi Arditti and this week on Wordmaster: Rosanne Skirble and I serve up a feast of idioms related to health and gluttony, as we present the classic children's fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel" -- retold by Slangman David Burke.

MUSIC: "Hansel and Gretel: Dream Pantomime"/Boston Pops Orchestra

DAVID BURKE: "Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl named Hansel and Gretel who were bored out of their minds, so they decided to take a walk in the forest and got lost.

"Finally they saw a very unusual house. It was made of gingerbread and covered with cakes, and the windows were made of clear sugar. And they began to eat parts of the roof and windows. But then they suddenly heard an old woman's voice say, 'Who is eating my house?' 'Oh it's just the wind,' answered Hansel. Well, the woman was old but not totally out of it. 'Out of it' means not completely coherent, not really thinking rationally.

"Well, suddenly the door opened and the old woman walked out. 'Oh, do come in and stay with me.' She took them both by the hand and she gave them lots and lots of food to eat. They kept eating until they could not eat anymore.

"Well, Hansel was usually in tip-top shape -- which means great physical condition -- but after eating so much he felt sick as a dog and felt like he was running a fever. That means to have a fever. He was nervous that he was going to lose his cookies. Now that simply means to vomit. Why cookies, I don't know, but it's very common."

RS: "And it's appropriate for this story."

DAVID BURKE: "Well, he felt like he would never bounce back. Now that means to recover from being sick. He felt really blah. This is a great word. It's what we call an onomatopoeia, which simply is a word that sounds like what it means. So if you feel 'blah,' you have no energy, you just feel really terrible."

AA: "Spelled b-l-a-h."

DAVID BURKE: "Right. Oh, don't worry, his condition wasn't bad enough where he would have to go under the knife, which means to have surgery. The last thing he needed was to go see some kind of quack."

RS: "And that's not a duck."

DAVID BURKE: "That's not a duck, although that is the sound a duck makes. However, a 'quack' means a doctor that's not very good. In fact, a really terrible doctor is a quack. The feeling in his stomach would just have to run its course, which means just go through its natural progress of being bad, and then finally curing itself.

"Well, Gretel felt a little under the weather too. 'Under the weather' simply means kind of sick. She thought she may even pass out. 'Pass out' simply means to faint. Hansel said, 'Gretel, just mellow out. Take a chill pill.' Because when you're really tense, you're hot, so 'take a chill pill,' relax. Well, early the next morning the old woman -- I mean, the witch -- quietly woke up Hansel and led him into a little room made of more candy. It was actually a cage!

"Gretel heard him screaming and rushed downstairs, but the witch said to her, 'Go take this food to your brother so he will become even more fat, and then I'm going to eat him!' The witch gave Gretel the willies so she didn't dare disobey. Well, to give someone 'the willies' means to make them nervous."

RS: "Or scared."

DAVID BURKE: "Or scared. 'Gretel,' screamed the witch, 'go inside the oven and make sure the pilot light is on.' Well, Gretel wasn't born yesterday and said, 'You know, witch, I'm not myself this morning.' Now when you're 'not yourself,' that means you're not feeling very well, so she said to the witch, 'Can you show me how to light that pilot light?'

"When the witch got in, Gretel gave her a push, shut the door and fastened the bolt. Gretel quickly ran to Hansel's cage and let him out and said, 'Hansel, the witch kicked the bucket. She croaked in the oven.' Now I don't really know why to 'kick the bucket' would mean to die. To 'croak,' that seems more normal, because when a frog croaks it makes that sound of [throat sound]. So if a frog dies, does the frog croak? Maybe not."

AA: Slangman David Burke is the owner of Slangman Publishing, a company that specializes in materials on slang and idioms. Get the lowdown at slangman.com. And we have other classic stories retold by David at voanews.com/wordmaster -- click on the Slangman link at the bottom of the page. With Rosanne Skirble, I'm Avi Arditti.

AA: I'm Avi Arditti and this week on Wordmaster: Rosanne Skirble and I serve up a feast of idioms related to health and gluttony, as we present the classic children's fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel" -- retold by Slangman David Burke.

MUSIC: "Hansel and Gretel: Dream Pantomime"/Boston Pops Orchestra

AUDIO: 4:30

DAVID BURKE: "Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl named Hansel and Gretel who were bored out of their minds, so they decided to take a walk in the forest and got lost.

"Finally they saw a very unusual house. It was made of gingerbread and covered with cakes, and the windows were made of clear sugar. And they began to eat parts of the roof and windows. But then they suddenly heard an old woman's voice say, 'Who is eating my house?' 'Oh it's just the wind,' answered Hansel. Well, the woman was old but not totally out of it. 'Out of it' means not completely coherent, not really thinking rationally.

"Well, suddenly the door opened and the old woman walked out. 'Oh, do come in and stay with me.' She took them both by the hand and she gave them lots and lots of food to eat. They kept eating until they could not eat anymore.

"Well, Hansel was usually in tip-top shape -- which means great physical condition -- but after eating so much he felt sick as a dog and felt like he was running a fever. That means to have a fever. He was nervous that he was going to lose his cookies. Now that simply means to vomit. Why cookies, I don't know, but it's very common."

RS: "And it's appropriate for this story."

DAVID BURKE: "Well, he felt like he would never bounce back. Now that means to recover from being sick. He felt really blah. This is a great word. It's what we call an onomatopoeia, which simply is a word that sounds like what it means. So if you feel 'blah,' you have no energy, you just feel really terrible."

AA: "Spelled b-l-a-h."

DAVID BURKE: "Right. Oh, don't worry, his condition wasn't bad enough where he would have to go under the knife, which means to have surgery. The last thing he needed was to go see some kind of quack."

RS: "And that's not a duck."

DAVID BURKE: "That's not a duck, although that is the sound a duck makes. However, a 'quack' means a doctor that's not very good. In fact, a really terrible doctor is a quack. The feeling in his stomach would just have to run its course, which means just go through its natural progress of being bad, and then finally curing itself.

"Well, Gretel felt a little under the weather too. 'Under the weather' simply means kind of sick. She thought she may even pass out. 'Pass out' simply means to faint. Hansel said, 'Gretel, just mellow out. Take a chill pill.' Because when you're really tense, you're hot, so 'take a chill pill,' relax. Well, early the next morning the old woman -- I mean, the witch -- quietly woke up Hansel and led him into a little room made of more candy. It was actually a cage!

"Gretel heard him screaming and rushed downstairs, but the witch said to her, 'Go take this food to your brother so he will become even more fat, and then I'm going to eat him!' The witch gave Gretel the willies so she didn't dare disobey. Well, to give someone 'the willies' means to make them nervous."

RS: "Or scared."

DAVID BURKE: "Or scared. 'Gretel,' screamed the witch, 'go inside the oven and make sure the pilot light is on.' Well, Gretel wasn't born yesterday and said, 'You know, witch, I'm not myself this morning.' Now when you're 'not yourself,' that means you're not feeling very well, so she said to the witch, 'Can you show me how to light that pilot light?'

"When the witch got in, Gretel gave her a push, shut the door and fastened the bolt. Gretel quickly ran to Hansel's cage and let him out and said, 'Hansel, the witch kicked the bucket. She croaked in the oven.' Now I don't really know why to 'kick the bucket' would mean to die. To 'croak,' that seems more normal, because when a frog croaks it makes that sound of [throat sound]. So if a frog dies, does the frog croak? Maybe not."

AA: Slangman David Burke is the owner of Slangman Publishing, a company that specializes in materials on slang and idioms. Get the lowdown at slangman.com. And we have other classic stories retold by David at voanews.com/wordmaster -- click on the Slangman link at the bottom of the page. With Rosanne Skirble, I'm Avi Arditti.

DAVID BURKE: "Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl named Hansel and Gretel who were bored out of their minds, so they decided to take a walk in the forest and got lost.

"Finally they saw a very unusual house. It was made of gingerbread and covered with cakes, and the windows were made of clear sugar. And they began to eat parts of the roof and windows. But then they suddenly heard an old woman's voice say, 'Who is eating my house?' 'Oh it's just the wind,' answered Hansel. Well, the woman was old but not totally out of it. 'Out of it' means not completely coherent, not really thinking rationally.

"Well, suddenly the door opened and the old woman walked out. 'Oh, do come in and stay with me.' She took them both by the hand and she gave them lots and lots of food to eat. They kept eating until they could not eat anymore.

"Well, Hansel was usually in tip-top shape -- which means great physical condition -- but after eating so much he felt sick as a dog and felt like he was running a fever. That means to have a fever. He was nervous that he was going to lose his cookies. Now that simply means to vomit. Why cookies, I don't know, but it's very common."

RS: "And it's appropriate for this story."

DAVID BURKE: "Well, he felt like he would never bounce back. Now that means to recover from being sick. He felt really blah. This is a great word. It's what we call an onomatopoeia, which simply is a word that sounds like what it means. So if you feel 'blah,' you have no energy, you just feel really terrible."

AA: "Spelled b-l-a-h."

DAVID BURKE: "Right. Oh, don't worry, his condition wasn't bad enough where he would have to go under the knife, which means to have surgery. The last thing he needed was to go see some kind of quack."

RS: "And that's not a duck."

DAVID BURKE: "That's not a duck, although that is the sound a duck makes. However, a 'quack' means a doctor that's not very good. In fact, a really terrible doctor is a quack. The feeling in his stomach would just have to run its course, which means just go through its natural progress of being bad, and then finally curing itself.

"Well, Gretel felt a little under the weather too. 'Under the weather' simply means kind of sick. She thought she may even pass out. 'Pass out' simply means to faint. Hansel said, 'Gretel, just mellow out. Take a chill pill.' Because when you're really tense, you're hot, so 'take a chill pill,' relax. Well, early the next morning the old woman -- I mean, the witch -- quietly woke up Hansel and led him into a little room made of more candy. It was actually a cage!

"Gretel heard him screaming and rushed downstairs, but the witch said to her, 'Go take this food to your brother so he will become even more fat, and then I'm going to eat him!' The witch gave Gretel the willies so she didn't dare disobey. Well, to give someone 'the willies' means to make them nervous."

RS: "Or scared."

DAVID BURKE: "Or scared. 'Gretel,' screamed the witch, 'go inside the oven and make sure the pilot light is on.' Well, Gretel wasn't born yesterday and said, 'You know, witch, I'm not myself this morning.' Now when you're 'not yourself,' that means you're not feeling very well, so she said to the witch, 'Can you show me how to light that pilot light?'

"When the witch got in, Gretel gave her a push, shut the door and fastened the bolt. Gretel quickly ran to Hansel's cage and let him out and said, 'Hansel, the witch kicked the bucket. She croaked in the oven.' Now I don't really know why to 'kick the bucket' would mean to die. To 'croak,' that seems more normal, because when a frog croaks it makes that sound of [throat sound]. So if a frog dies, does the frog croak? Maybe not."

AA: Slangman David Burke is the owner of Slangman Publishing, a company that specializes in materials on slang and idioms. Get the lowdown at slangman.com. And we have other classic stories retold by David at voanews.com/wordmaster -- click on the Slangman link at the bottom of the page. With Rosanne Skirble, I'm Avi Arditti.


VOA's Wordmaster
www.manythings.org/voa/wm

Source: Terms to Chew Over: 'Hansel and Gretel' Like You've Never Heard It
TEXT = http://www.voanews.com/specialenglish/archive/2006-12/2006-12-19-voa2.cfm?renderforprint=1
MP3 = http://www.voanews.com/mediaassets/specialenglish/2006_12/Audio/mp3/06-12-20slangman-hansel-gretel.mp3