Every child dreams of living a fairytale life, and every once in a while some lucky, fairy-dusted children actually do. Like the eleven children in a small town in Ohio who--like Hansel and Gretel!--were discovered on Monday to be sleeping in cages. (See the brief in the NYT).
The cages are 40 inches high and 40 inches deep, and the children, ages 1 to 14 and all either adoptive or foster children, had no blankets or pillows, and the cages were rigged with alarms that sounded if opened. Doors to some of the cages were blocked with heavy furniture. This is so story-book Grimm might have to sue for plagiarism!
The witch in Hansel and Gretel had her reasons for lodging her charges in cages, of course, just like the parents here, Mr. and Mrs. Gravelle, do. They said the children aren't abused at all. It's just that some of them have autism, fetal alcocohol syndrome, and mental disorders, so they need to sleep in cages for their own protection. Frankly, it would be a crime to let them sleep, say, in a bed, or to not, say, lock them up--no child, especially not a mentally ill or autistic child, needs his freedom at night.
Mrs. Gravelle's mother, who must have been spending time with Barbara Bush in the Astrodome observing how much better off the underprivileged evacuees are, is angry that people don't see how good her daughter's kids have it! "This year they have played and had fun and laughed like no other children have, which they have never been able to do," she said.
Maybe after this fairlytale the kids can pop by the Neverneverland Ranch for a visit. No cages there, though, just big beds and a friendly bedmate.