|Little Red Riding Hood|
One of the most famous fairy tales of all times.
One bright summer’s morning, a wood-cutter set off from his house on the edge of the forest. In the house, a little girl watched her mother preparing food, which she packed carefully into a basket. The little girl was called Little Red Riding Hood, as she always wore a red cape with a hood, that her clever mother had made for her.
When the basket was finished, Red Riding Hood’s mother called her and said, "here’s a basket of freshly baked cakes and bread which I want you to take to your grand-mother, who is not being well. Take care as you go through the woods, stick to the path and don’t stop to talk to strangers on the way. And when you’ve seen grand-mother, hurry back and let me know how she is". "Yes mama", said Red Riding Hood, and went on her way.
She began to wind her way through the wood, where she’d been many times before with her father wood-cutter. The birds and the small animals that lived in the wood followed her, but they were not afraid of her. After a while she stopped to pick some flowers, thinking that they would make a nice present for her grand-mother. Then she saw some prettier flowers among the trees, away from the forest path. She became so excited at finding prettier and prettier flowers that she quite forgot her mother’s advice to stick to the path and didn’t even notice when all the little animals scurried away. So when a shadow fell across her path, she was quite surprised to see a tall stranger standing next to her.
"Good morning, my child", he said. He was a big bad wolf. But Red Riding Hood didn’t know this and answered politely, "Good morning, sir". "Tell me, my dear", said the wolf, "where are you off to on this fine day?". "I’m off to visit my grand-mother, who lives in the woods", said Red Riding Hood, "but I fear I have lost my way". "Mmm, and what do you have in your basket?", inquired the wolf. "Oh, freshly baked cakes and bread for grand-mother", said Riding Hood. "And your grand-mother, does she live alone?", asked the wolf. "Oh yes, quite alone", said the little girl.
The wolf looked at the basket and licked his lips, for he was very hungry. But he thought, "If I can wait a while, I might make an even better meal", so he said, "well, now, allow me to lead you back to the path so that you can continue on your way". "Thank you", said Red Riding Hood, as he led her back to the path.
"Now, does your grand-mother live far from here?", asked the wolf. "Not very far", said Red Riding Hood, "In the little cottage, by the old mill, and she keeps the door on the latch so I can easily enter". "Oh, splendid, splendid", cried the wolf, licking his lips and swishing his tail. "Off you go then, give my best wishes to your grand-mother, and I hope she tastes, I, I mean, I mean, FEELS better". "Thank you kindly", said Little Red Riding Hood. And she waved good-bye as she went down the path towards her grand-mother’s cottage.
Now, the wicked wolf knew the woods well, and ran off using a short-cut that brought him to the cottage long before Red Riding Hood. He peered in at the window to see if the old woman was really alone. And then, he knocked on the door.
"Who is there?". "Eh, it is me, Red Riding Hood, with some food from mama", said the wolf. "Lift up the latch and come in, my deer", said the old lady. The wolf opened the door and leaped towards the bed. The old lady was so frightened she fainted clean away. The wolf was about to eat her there and then, but his sharp ears picked up the sound of Red Riding Hood approaching through the woods. So he quickly bundled the old lady into a closet, rest himself into a nice gown and cap and jumped into bed. Red Riding Hood approached the cottage and knocked on the door.
"Who is there?", cried the wolf, pretending to be the old lady". "It is Red Riding Hood, with some food for you from mama", said the little girl. "Lift up the latch and come in", said the wolf, snuggling down under the bed clothes. Red Riding Hood opened the door and peered in. It was not very light in the cottage but could just see the old lady’s night cap lying on the pillow. "I hope you’re feeling better", said Red Riding Hood as she approached the bed.
The wolf did not answer, but his eyes gleamed. "Why! What big eyes you have!", said Red Riding Hood. "All the better to see you with", said the wolf. Then, Red Riding Hood noticed the strange shape of grand-mother’s night cap and said, "What big ears you have, grand-mother!". "All the better to hear you with", said the wolf, and the bed clothes slipped down to show his big snout. "My goodness! What big teeth you have!", cried Red Riding Hood in alarm. "All the better to eat you with!", said the wolf.
Suddenly, the door bust opened and there stood the wood-cutter with his axe. The wolf glared at the wood-cutter, but he knew that he stood no chance against that mighty axe, so he leapt through the window and he ran for his life, never to be seen again. Red Riding Hood was so frightened she was crying and trembling. Her father put down his axe to comfort her. Then he heard a noise from the closet. The wood-cutter opened the door, and there was poor frightened grand-mother, wrapped in a shawl.
After they comforted her, they put her back into bed and gave her the cakes and bread, to which she felt much better. Then Red Riding Hood and her father left the cottage and made their way home, safely, but from that day on, Red Riding Hood took care not to stray from the path and learned to be on her guard with smooth talking strangers.