When I was five, my uncle took me to a marionette show … Later, when I tried to recall that Christmas morning, the Christmas that came two months after the performance at the school, the only thing I could remember was the box that held the marionette … Subsequent Christmases and birthdays brought Hansel and Gretel and a witch, a cowgirl, a white-face clown, Red Riding Hood, a wolf and a man in a green pointed hat who could double as a woodsman for Red Riding Hood or could star as Robin Hood. I came to favor the characters whose outfits left them vaguely defined, because I could put them to work in a variety of theatricals. The witch was always a witch, but Hansel and Gretel could be just about anyone. Sometimes I would introduce my old stuffed bear in non-speaking, no-moving parts, just to pad out the cast.
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