LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

There was once a sweet little maid who lived with her father and mother in a pretty little cottage on the edge of their village. On the other side of their home was a deep, dark wood with many dozens of shadows that reached and clawed at her even at high noon.  Little Red Riding Hood did not like the dark wood.  She trembled and shook any time she came near them and she dreamed they tried to reach out to get her especially on stormy nights. 

There were only two reasons Little Red Riding Hood would tiptoe alone into the dark wood.  When her father was working with his ax to take down trees in the wood Little Red Riding Hood would bring water and a loaf of buttered bread to him for his noonday meals.  She was truly grateful when her father worked just outside their home to turn the trees and limbs into wonderful bowls and other things that could be sold in the village. 

But, there were other dark times when she had to go visit her grandmother all by herself and the only way Little Red Riding Hood could reach her grandmother's house was by following a narrow, winding trail through the deep, dark wood that frightened her so both day and night.

Nobody knew how frightened Little Red Riding Hood was of the wood.  They just thought she was very brave.  They loved this little girl, and her grandmother perhaps loved her most of all and gave her a great many pretty things. Long ago she had given her a long, red cloak with a hood to protect her face and head  on her trips through the wood. 

Because she loved her grandmother so much she always wore the long, red cloak every time she found a chance to help someone. Everywhere she went people could see her coming because the red hood stood out so much, so it wasn't long before people called her "Here Comes Little Red Riding Hood."  Later she was simply called "Little Red Riding Hood."


One morning Little Red Riding Hood's mother said, "Put on your things and go to see your GrandMaMa. I'm giving you a few dainties to share with her.  She has been ill of late and has taken a turn for the worse.  Tidy up the house for her when you get there, and wash any dishes you see.  In your basket I have put a dozen eggs, a pound of butter and a delicious cake with chopped nuts on top.  She needs cheering up so pick a few flowers along the way."

And her father said, "Watch out for the big bad wolf too."

"Oh Jed, don't frighten the child so.  That wolf is just a tale to frighten little children with."

"No, no. This wolf is real," said Jed.  "He is a very wise wolf.  He has already eaten three little pigs just last week, and the posse said he was last seen coming our way."

It was a bright and sunny morning when Little Red Riding Hood stepped outside with her basket of Good Will.  She was so happy that first she wanted to dance and skip all the way.  Hop, Hop. Skip, Skip, and before she knew it, Little Red Riding Hood was right there where the path turned off to go through the wood to Grandmother's house, and she hadn't picked any flowers yet. 

She looked down the forest trail and there she saw a burst of light and a wave of nodding flowers.  The flowers were probably not as pretty as the ones she had passed while skipping so she looked behind her, and then she looked into the wood where the flowers nodded again.  "GrandMaMa will like any flowers I bring."

After she had taken that first step into the deep, dark wood the next step was all that much easier to take.  Before she knew it the flowers were close, but the trail went along in another way. Beyond the flowers the forest was really dark as if a storm were tossing and turning them, but down low the flowers barely nodded their heads. 

"They are such pretty flowers; GrandMaMa will love them so."  All around her grew pretty wild flowers which she loved so well and she stopped to pick a bunch for her grandmother.

Little Red Riding Hood wandered from her path to check first one flower, then another.  Finally she found a big patch  and was stooping to pick her first flower when from behind her a gruff voice said, "Good morning, little girl."

She was so startled that she turned all the way around.  But when she saw the wolf she thought he was just a big dog sniffing at her basket for the smell.  Since all the dogs she knew were friendly she was not afraid. 

No, her first thought was that here was someone to protect her along the path in the deep dark wood.  "I am so glad to see you.  Can you walk along beside me on the path to my Grandmother's house?  I feel so much safer when someone walks beside me."

"Yes, but I cannot go that slow," said the wise old wolf as he took his paw from off the basket.  "But I could carry your basket for you and run on ahead to make sure all is safe."

That mean old wolf thought he was going to eat everything in the basket, but then his ears perked up and he heard Little Red Riding Hood say, "She is very ill, Kind Sir.  GrandMaMa can hardly get out of bed."

The wolf's eyes blazed bright red when he heard that.  In his memory was an old, old recipe for Roast Grandmothers that called for rolling an old lady in eggs and butter then roasting her alive over a hot, fiery pit.  The screams were the best part, he remembered.  Eggs and butter, he thought -- where did that thought come from.  Then he remembered the smells from the basket.  The smell of fresh Chicken eggs had tickled his nose -- and butter, oh yes, butter and more butter.   "What do you have in your basket, little girl?"

"Oh, just a few eggs and some butter Most Kind Sir." she told him.  Then she said, "Oh, and some cake, too.

The wolf took his paw off the basket and his eyes blazed at the thought of so much good stuff to eat.  "Oh, that is just wonderful -- I mean, your grandmother will love all this.

"Tell me, how do I get to your grandmother's house."

No one had ever told Little Red Riding Hood not to tell strangers where she lived, so she wasn't the least bit afraid to tell this big, friendly dog how to find her grandmother's house.  "It's simple.  Just follow this path until you smell roses blooming.  Just past that a gate is hidden by a turn in the brush.  GrandMaMa's house is not far down the path once you get through the gate."

Little Red Riding Hood gladly gave him the basket.  Now, when the wolf took off he started a mile-eating lope with his tongue hanging out because he was so proud of the bounty he would reap this day.

Eggs and butter and cake, ooh, yeah!  The wolf knew he would truly dine well this day at GrandMaMa's  house. 

When the wise old wolf heard that his eyes blazed again, but much brighter. With the basket under his paw he set off down the trail.  "If she is that ill then I can easily take her down and have all the food in this basket as well.   All I have to do is trick her into letting me into her house.  Then I can jump on her and gobble GrandMaMa up."

With a lighter heart, and a lighter load, back in the clearing, Little Red Riding Hood again searched for pretty  wild flowers. Soon she had a big hand full and Hop, Hop. Skip, Skip, off down the trail to GrandMaMa's house she skipped just as fast as she could go, almost right behind the wicked old wolf.

When the wolf found the gate his mouth was watering so much that he snitched part of GrandMaMa's cake.  "It may be hers but she will never miss it. He He, He!"  Oh yes, he chuckled right out loud with an evil grin. 

He passed on through the gate and went right up to the door and rapped on it four times.  Knock, Knock, KNOCK, KNOCK! 

The old wolf was very proud of his knocking because. Most wolves just went, Rap, Rap, Rap, and, can you believe it? a few wolves were so timid that they just went Tap, Tap, Tap and even then they ran away to hide. He scowled at the thought of a timid wolf, then he went KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK! again.

"Who is there?" called the grandmother in a far away voice that made the old wolf more eager than ever to get inside.

"Little Red Riding Hood," said the wicked wolf in his very best squeaky voice.

"Pull the latch string child, open the door, and walk in," said the poor grandmother.

The wolf pulled the latch string, and walked in where the grandmother lay in bed.  His paw jiggled the basket.  "Look what I have for you, GrandMaMa."

The old lady hitched herself up in bed and reached for her glasses.  With these pinched firmly in place she drew the cover off the basket.  "hmmmm, boy!  Eggs and butter and cake, ooh, yeah!  Oh, you naughty little girl, you have pinched some of my cake, haven't you."  She picked up a ruler from the table next to the bed and whacked the old wolf's hand so hard that he dropped the basket.  When he bent over to pick up the basket the old lady whacked him on top of the head.  "There now, that ought to teach you."

The wolf began to howl.  "OOOOH!"

"Why you sound just like a wolf!" said GrandMaMa.  She grabbed the ruler and whacked his nose as if she meant business.  The old wolf grabbed the ruler and made one leap at her, but GrandMaMa threw her night cap at him then jumped out of bed and ran into a closet.  When the wolf yanked the door open she was sitting in the far corner.  "Oh, please don't eat me, Mr. Wolf." 

Just then the wolf heard Little Red Riding Hood skipping up the path.  "You stay right there while the other wolf and I talk about this.  If you say even one word both of us will come right in here and eat you up."

He closed the door, and put on the cap which she had thrown at him and crept under the bedclothes.

In a short while Little Red Riding Hood knocked at the door, and walked in, saying, "Good morning, GrandMaMa.  Did you see the eggs, butter and cake, that I brought you.  Oh, you have dropped the basket.  Let me give you the flowers I gathered in the wood." As she came nearer the bed she picked the basket up and she said, "What big ears you have now, GrandMaMa"

"All the better to hear you with, my dear."

"Why, what big eyes you have, GrandMaMa."

"All the better to see you with, my dear."

"But, GrandMaMa, now that I look at you, what a big nose you have."

"All the better to smell this yummy cake with, my dear."

Little Red Riding Hood was growing more suspicious by the minute.  "GrandMaMa, You have a big, big mouth too, and you have teeth again!"

"All the better to eat you up with, my dear," he said.  Then he leaped off the bed and ran at Little Red Riding Hood. 

She ran around the bed, screaming. "Daddy, Daddy!"  The second time she screamed GrandMaMa yanked the closet door open and she screamed.. "You leave her alone." and the big bad wolf ran right into the door, and he fell to the floor.  GrandMaMa and Little Red Riding Hood threw the bed cover over him and rolled him up in it then sewed him up so tight that nothing but his nose was sticking out.  GrandMaMa whacked his nose with the ruler three times then sat down on the bed cover so the wolf could not get away even if he did get loose.  "Oh, I feel much better," she said.  "A good run before breakfast must be good for you.  Shall we have some of my cake now?"

They were still eating cake when Little Red Riding Hood's father stepped through the door.  "I was a mile away when I thought I heard you call," he said.

"She did," said GrandMaMa.  "She caught us a wolf and we don't know what to do with him."

Father came around the bed and saw the wolf's nose that was turning red and redder.  "I know what to do with a wolf," Father said and it was only then that the wolf began to cry. 

"Give me a chance," he cried.  "Give me another chance!"

The End

The Author: Lin Stone
has many more stories!



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