Now that's interesting. Your post inspired me to dig a little deeper... it looks like the autovivification is still happening, but not on the lexical %stopper. Instead the global %::stopper is affected. Which makes sense, I suppose, because %::stopper is what was being affected in Abigail's original snippet, and with no lexical on scope, %stopper (i.e. the symbolic reference) was really referring to %::stopper. Very interesting, I certainly learned something. Thanks for pointing that out!
$x = 'stopper';
print Dumper $x;
print Dumper \%stopper;
print Dumper \%::stopper;
XML::Simpler does not require XML::Parser or a SAX parser.
It does require File::Slurp.
-- grantm, perldoc XML::Simpler