Henny Penny (aka, Hometown Weekly's own Geena Matuson) shares a laugh with Mother Goose (Marian Ossman). Photo Courtesy of Geena Matuson
By Geena Matuson
Hometown Weekly Staff
The Honorable Mother Goose presided over proceedings of The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf on Wednesday July 20, the year 2016. Wellesley Free Library hosted these proceedings, the third wolf trial held since its creation by Christine Carpenter in 1998. One trial returned a guilty verdict, and one deemed Big Bad Wolf innocent - this was the tie-breaker.
I entered the grand Wellesley Free Library and walked to the Wakelin Room at the back of the building. I was greeted by a big sign ‘The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf,’ and also by Christine Carpenter, creator of this role playing script and event. When I introduced myself as a member of the press, they excitedly asked if I would play the part of Henny Penny, court reporter. I read through the role and agreed - after all, I was there to report on the trial, wasn’t I?
Parents and children filtered in and chose parts to play, their character information and lines written on the backs of their name tags. As the characters took their seats, I walked around and asked a few of them about their role in the trial. Were they for - or against - Big Bad Wolf? Did they believe Little Red Riding Hood’s story - did B.B. Wolf eat Grandma?
I first spoke with Seemore Ramsses, witness for B.B. Wolf, and told me to be ready for a surprise. I next spoke to ‘The Expert’ on wolves, who told me that her extensive internet research had proven no instances in which a wolf has eaten a person, and therefore it is uncharacteristic and highly unlikely. I also spoke with Hamm, one of the three little pigs. “He’s bad; Red is telling the truth,” Hamm said very matter-of-factly. I ventured over to the Prosecution and asked Little Red Riding Hood, herself for her take on this whole thing. Though angry about the whole eating-grandma thing, she was still smiling. I thought to myself: perhaps she knows something we don’t?
The court was called to order by The Honorable Mother Goose played by Marian Ossman, former Wellesley Free Library Children’s Librarian who just retired at the start of July. Prosecutor Little Boy Blue of Storybook Land represented Little Red Riding Hood, trying B.B. Wolf for allegedly eating Grandma. Foxy Loxy was the defense council, and promptly took their seat. Big Bad Wolf pled ‘Not Guilty.’
Little Red was sworn in, and when asked by Little Boy Blue what she would like to see happen to B.B. Wolf for allegedly eating Grandma, she replied, “Have him killed!” One of the three little pigs, Lardo, made a similar statement when called to the stand: “We should boil him in a vat of oil with pig fat and gobble him up!” Lardo also asserted that he will craft his next house of stone, while brother Porky has decided on straw.
There was some tension in the court when the defense council got into it with Peter, witness for the prosecution. Peter had been playing with a bird when a cat came along and tried to eat the bird. While that incident was prevented, a duck came along - and when B.B. Wolf strode by, he ate the duck. Peter insisted that B.B. Wolf was guilty and should be sent to a zoo, “where animals are sent so they do not eat other animals.”
Foxy Loxy had to disagree: “Didn’t you say the cat tried to eat the bird, too?” The two went back and forth.
“A wolf belongs in the zoo!” Peter insisted.
“They belong in the wild,” replied Foxy Loxy. When Peter protested and said animals should not eat other animals, Foxy Loxy said: “it’s the circle of life,” and the court had a good laugh at that comment.
The defense called its first witness: The Big Bad Wolf. When asked about allegedly eating numerous animals as presented by the prosecution, he admitted to a few gobbles here and there. “But what about Red Riding Hood?” Foxy asked.
B.B. Wolf rolled his eyes and put his hand to his head, “Little Red was probably the worse mistake of my life…” He agreed to having eaten a duck and astutely remarked, “That’s the food chain. The duck eats the fish. The wolf eats the duck. The people kill the wolf. But that doesn’t even make sense because people don’t even eat the wolf - they just kill it. It makes no sense to kill and not eat them!”
Next, he was cross-examined by prosecutor Little Boy Blue. “What about saying ‘the better to eat you with?’”
B.B. Wolf looked confused. “The better to eat you? No I was just really confused with what I was saying at that point. I mean, the grandma in the next room…” and he explained this whole thing wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t ‘curious like George.’
Witness for the defense Seemore Ramsses confirmed B.B. Wolf’s kind disposition and lack of ill intent, “He’s very kind. He only ate two sheep and freed the rest of them!”
While the jury deliberated, the court started to buzz. Everyone seemed to have their own thoughts on the Wolf’s innocence or guilt, putting even parents and children on opposing sides. After several minutes, Mother Goose struck the gavel and called, “Order in the Court!” The jury was ready with their verdict.
The court foreman spoke, “We find the defendant guilty of all charges!”
Mother Goose pronounced the sentence, “The Big Bad Wolf is to be remanded to a national reserve for wolves, such as Yellowstone National Park … and live out his life with fellow wolves and never be a danger to Storybook Land again!” The court cheered, and even B.B. Wolf seemed okay with the verdict.
You can watch the event on Wellesley Public Access, thanks to their staff member, Tyler, who filmed the trial. For more events and information on Wellesley Free Library, visit www.wellesleyfreelibrary.org, or in person at 530 Washington Street in Wellesley. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WellesleyLib, and on Twitter for updates @WellesleyLib.