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1001 Pretzel Pretzels

The Pretzel was just an ordinary-looking pretzel. It was long and straight and covered with speckles of salt. It looked no different from its hundreds of brothers and sisters, which were made from the same dough in the pretzel factory.

But this Pretzel was different. It wanted to see the world. All day the Pretzel gazed out through its cellophane wrapper on the shelf in the candy store window. It saw people passing by, and cars and trucks. But it wanted to see more.

Then a boy came into the store and asked for a bag of pretzels -- that one, in the window. He gave the man a dollar and ripped open the bag. The Pretzel was excited.

Now it was going to see more of the world. But then the boy took it out of the bag and raised it toward his open mouth. The boy was going to eat the Pretzel!

The Pretzel was frightened. It knew that it had to be eaten some day. After all, that is what pretzels are for. But it did not want to be eaten yet! It wanted to see the world first.

"Stop!" the Pretzel wanted to cry. But pretzels cannot talk. It stretched and strained. And it bent over backward, away from the boy's mouth.

"What is this?" thought the boy. "Wasn't this pretzel straight before?" He tried to bite the other end. The Pretzel bent itself again. Now it looked like a letter S.

"What's going on?" the boy exclaimed. While he looked, the Pretzel changed its shape again.

"What a strange pretzel," the boy thought. "I must save it." And clutching it tightly, he ran home.

That afternoon, the boy showed the amazing Pretzel to his friends. Time after time it changed its shape. It grew short and fat, and then long and thin. It curled itself over and straightened itself out. It made letters and numbers. It made circles and squares. Then it tried some harder shapes like cats and flowers. It even made some shapes that no one had ever seen before.

The boy showed his mother and father, too. No one could figure out how the Pretzel could change its shape. But it kept on doing it.

The next day the boy took his amazing Pretzel to school and showed it to his class. The Principal borrowed it for the afternoon and put it in a special display in the hall. All the children in the school came down to see the Pretzel changing its shape.

That night the boy's mother took the Pretzel to her club meeting. The next day his father took it to work to show his friends. And all the time it kept on making new shapes.

The newspapers found out about it. That evening a flock of reporters and photographers came to see the amazing Pretzel. Pictures of it appeared the next day in all the papers, and no two pictures showed the same shape.

That night, when all was dark and the family was in bed, the dining room window slowly slid open, and a shadowy figure slipped in. It was a burglar, and he wanted to steal the famous Pretzel. He spotted it with his flashlight and stretched out his hand to grab it.

"Hey!" yelped the burglar, "What's going on here?" For as soon as his hand touched the Pretzel, it curled up around his wrist.

The burglar dropped his flashlight and reached over with his other hand to try to take the Pretzel off his wrist. But quickly the Pretzel sent another loop around his other wrist, to form a perfect pair of handcuffs.

The frightened cries of the burglar as he stumbled around the dark room woke up the family. They called the police, and the burglar was taken to jail with a real pair of handcuffs around his wrists.

The following day, there were more stories in the newspapers about the amazing Pretzel who had caught a thief. The Pretzel's fame grew and grew.

Then the Pretzel was signed up for a world tour. It was going to be taken all around the world, advertised as the "Pretzel with a Thousand and One Shapes."

The next few months were very exciting for the Pretzel. It went to nearly all the countries of the world. Millions of people saw it change its shape.

But as the weeks went by, the Pretzel began to get bored. And it was growing sad. For now it was very stale. No one would ever want to eat it any more. And everybody knows that a pretzel is made to be eaten.

One day as the tour was passing through a very poor village, the truck carrying the Pretzel happened to stop. There, standing near the truck, was a hungry little boy. Maybe he would be hungry enough to eat a very stale pretzel.

The Pretzel changed itself into the shape of a mouse and crept out of the truck and over to the boy. Then it changed itself into the nicest pretzel shape it could think of. By then the truck had moved on, and the crowd had gone away. Suddenly the boy noticed the Pretzel. He was so hungry, and it looked so tasty. He bit into it and smiled. In a moment the Pretzel was where a pretzel should be.








©1972, 2013 The Silversteins