Honoring my forebears, the Brothers Grimm, here is my retelling of the famous story…
Once upon a time, there lived a little girl named Red Riding Hood. One day, her mother told her to take some food to her sick Grandmother. She did not want to go, because it was a long walk through the woods, and she would rather play “Princess” in her backyard castle tree house. But her mother insisted, and gave her a basket full of fresh muffins.
“Mother is crazy,” thought Red to herself as she headed into the woods. “There are spiders and snakes and poison ivy everywhere. My new princess boots will be ruined in this mud!”
Red hurried along the path, hoping to get the whole ordeal over with as soon as possible. But then she heard a strange noise, like someone crying. She stopped to listen.
Red Riding Hood peered all around. She heard a terrible sobbing, like a child who was hurt.
Surely it was just a bird or harmless animal. Through the trees, Red saw a creek, and near it she saw a furry animal laying on its side. It looked like a dog with a grey coat. Red loved animals, especially dogs. So she rushed over to see if it was hurt or dead. It was whimpering.
“It’s ok,” said Red timidly.
“No,” grumbled the wolf in a dignified voice, “I am not ok, Dear. I think I have broken my leg of all things!”
The beast raised its head wearily and stared at Red. She was afraid to come closer, for the wolf’s eyes looked wild. She had heard wolves sometimes ate people when they were too weak to hunt.
“I will go get you some help,” suggested Red, backing away carefully.
“Oh, you must be a princess!” said the wolf. “You are so beautiful, you could only be royalty.”
“Really?” Red smiled. “Well, I am practicing for a princess play at school.”
“I knew it,” said the wolf with effort. He slowly leaned over to see her better. “I have seen many princesses, and you definitely are the most lovely of them all.”
“For real? You have seen real princesses?” and Red scooted a little closer and sat down on a rock.
The wolf began to tell of the princesses he had known in the past, describing in brilliant detail their golden hair and shining faces and gossamer dresses. Red listened dreamily to every word. Her heart felt very sorry for the wolf in his condition, for he seemed sincere and had quite a wise character.
“Dear me,” sighed the wolf, “how utterly rude I’ve been, keeping you from your travels. Were you headed to the castle too?”
“Actually… castle did you say?” Red looked puzzled.
“Yes, the castle, at the top of the hill there, beyond these woods.”
“How do you get there?” asked Red.
“O, then you weren’t headed there yourself?” sighed the wolf.
“Yes, um, I was headed there – I am just a bit lost” Red lied.
“Oh! Of course! These woods are bloody confusing. I get lost in here nearly every day.” The wolf attempted to get to his three good feet, grimacing in pain.
“Let me help you,” said Red, filled with compassion. Then, she noticed his enormous belly. He looked like a Burmese python that had just eaten a large goat. “What a large belly you have!” Red gasped.
“Oh, that! Never mind that,” chuckled the wolf, embarrassed. And as he chuckled, Red noticed his long canines, and a bit of dark stain around his white muzzle.
“What fearsome teeth you have too!” Red said jokingly. “Whatever you had for breakfast must have….”
Red noticed the horrible glint in the wolf’s eyes, and she knew deep inside he was wicked. Her heart pounded in her chest as she thought of her grandmother, often limping around her garden in the early mornings.
“Grandmother!” Red screamed and raced through the trees. She could hear the wolf struggling to come after her. She no longer cared about her pink jeweled boots, or her red velvet cloak getting dirty, or the castle on the hill, only about her grandmother.
Soon, Red arrived at the little cottage she rushed through the door. There was her Grandmother, pouring hot water over tea.
“What manners, child! Normally we knock first!” the old woman scolded.
“Grandmother! There is a wolf, a huge wolf who speaks coming this way!” Red cried.
“Not him again! He was here earlier. That wolf with his fake accent, babbling on about a broken leg or something. Looked to me like he ate too much and made himself morbidly obese.”
“What?” Red exclaimed.
“Too much eatin’, and not enough exercisin’ is what I say.” Grandmother busily prepared a second cup of tea for Red. “Pesky wolves these days, too lazy to hunt, come pickin around here, stealin’ and beggin’ off the poor and old! This time, I just gave him a little pork shoulder that had quite turned…”
Red Riding Hood looked at her Grandmother incredulously.
“Did you bring those muffins, dear?” Grandmother asked.
“Um, I think the wolf stole them,” she answered sheepishly.