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Gingerbread Man (Tale)

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The Gingerbread Man
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Aliases

John Dough, Gingerbread Boy, Johnny-Cake, or Gingerbread Runner

First Appearance

St. Nicholas Magazine (May 1875)

Created by

Unknown

Origin

The gingerbread man spontaneously came to life after being baked by a childless old woman. After coming into being, the gingerbread man leapt from the oven and ran away from both the woman and her husband who gave chase but failed to catch him. The gingerbread man then outruns several farm workers and animals while taunting them with the phrase:

I've run away from a little old woman, A little old man, And I can run away from you, I can!

The tale ended with a fox catching and eating the gingerbread man who cries as he's devoured, "I'm quarter gone...I'm half gone...I'm three-quarters gone...I'm all gone!"

In some variations of original tale, the fox sometimes feigns indifference to the gingerbread man, but when the cookie relaxed his guard and the fox snatched and devoured him. In other versions, The gingerbread man was halted at a riverbank, and after accepting the fox's offer to ferry him across, founds himself eaten mid-stream.

In some retellings, The Gingerbread man uses the more famous taunt: Run, run, run as fast as you can; You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man.

Public Domain Comic Appearances

  • Four Color #60,68,72
  • Fairy Tale Parade #6
  • Fairy Tales #11

Public Domain Appearances in Other Media

Literature:

  • St. Nicholas Magazine (May 1875)
  • English Fairy Tales (1890)

Musicals:

  • The Gingerbread Man (1905): Opened on Broadway in 1905. The musical featured a live Gingerbread Man named John Dough (not to be confused with Frank Baum's character). The show also featured King Bun, and Sallie Lunn.

Notes

  • Frank Baum had a character inspired by the original gingerbread man named John Dough who appeared in his books John Dough and the Cherub (1906) and The Road to Oz (1909.)
  • You can listen to a MIDI of a delightfully catchy number from the 1905 musical.
  • Not to be confused with the many, many other Gingerbread Men who have appeared over the years. Only versions of him pre-1923 or ones not non-renewed between 1923-1963 are PD.

See Also

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