Saturday, March 17, 2012

Little Dread Riding Hood

Listen, my sons, and I will tell you a tale. A tale of cunning and deceit. A tale of treachery and woe. The tale of. . .Little Dread Riding Hood.

These regal woods were once ruled by our kin, the Great Saxon Wolves of the Wild Northwest. Time was when every man and every beast trembled at the mention of our name. They feared the fire of our eyes.They feared our hot breath and our sharp claws.  (Not to mention our long, pointy teeth.) 

To hear our cry in the night was to know that danger lurked in these woods. Ow-owwwwwwww!

And then, she came. The girl child.  The one they call. . .Red.

Little Dread Riding Hood
Ahhh. I see you have heard of her. No child she, but an enchantress—cunningly cloaked in her red cape, carrying her so-called “basket of  goodies.”

Goodies! Was ever a name more cruelly deceitful, more beguiling to the unsuspecting carnivore? I think not.

But I digress. The noble wolf Fenwick met this child—this venomous vixen—on the woodland path one day. Suddenly, there she stood with her basket-of-bewitching-smells.

Fenwick, who happened to be a connoisseur of human cuisine, took quick inventory with his snout: sweet rolls and honey, sausages, dumplings, and red fruit pudding. Who could resist?

“Hello there, young lady,” said Fenwick. (So trusting. So na├»ve. . . .Such a schmuck.)

“Hello,” said the Scarlet Sorceress.

"That cape is divine. Simply divine. You must tell me where you got it."  

"My mommy gave it to me."

“How quaint. And where might you be going today, with that rather fine looking basket of goodies?”

“I’m going to Grandma’s house. She's been sick, and I’m taking these goodies to cheer her up.”

Notice the blatant deception: “She's been sick!” I’ll tell you the tale, my sons, and you may judge for yourselves if Granny was “sick” or not.

Fenwick politely took his leave of the girl. For if Grandma was sick, he thought it only neighborly to pay her a visit. Any Great Saxon Wolf of the Wild Northwest would have done the same.

Noble Fenwick visits the sick.

*   *   *   *   * 

Later that day, Red arrived at Grandma's cottage and knocked on the door.

“Come in,” said “Grandma.”

Red walked right up to Grandma’s bed, all sugary sweet, as if she hadn’t a care in the world.

“Why, Grandma, what big eyes you have!” She was playing with her quarry, of course, luring him into her trap.

“The better to see you with, my dear.”

“Why, Grandma, what big ears you have!” She had doubtless practiced this scam on other victims.

“The better to hear you with, my dear.” Fenwick leaned in closer and licked his lips.

“Why, Grandma, what big teeth you have!”

And here, I’m afraid, I must digress to say that I told him—I must have told him a thousand times—“Don’t wear women’s clothes, Fenwick. It will get you in trouble some day." But would he listen to his sister? No!

Let’s see—where were we? Ah yes. “Why, Grandma, what big teeth you have!”

Fenwick, right on cue, replied, “The better to eat you with, my dear!”

Whereupon he sprang from the bed to pounce upon the girl.  The plan? Child: entree; goodie basket: dessert. At last, he was acting like a wolf. Ow-owwwwwwww!

But alas, Grandma got free from the closet where Fenwick had stashed her, and she and Red chased him out of the cottage with brooms. Brooms! The very weapons banned by the Carnivore Convention of 1843! Yes, my sons, they cheated!

So Fenwick, after two detours and getting stuck in rush-hour traffic on the woodland path, climbed up onto the roof and went down the chimney. But meanwhile, the enchantress and her “sick granny”  put a kettle on the hearth and lit the fire.

Poor Fenwick! He shot back up the chimney like a rocket and went howling into the night. He has never been heard from since.

Later, in the court trial, Grandma convinced the jury that she was just making a pot of herbal tea. Tea! Can you believe it? But we know what she was trying to make, don't we? Wolf-butt flambe!

And so, my sons, I caution you--I implore you! When you must go into the woods, watch out for little children and grandmas. They are much more dangerous than they look.

And for pity’s sake, don’t dress in women’s clothes!

Hapless wolf with vicious predator

If you'd like to read a more traditional version of this story, you can find it in Grimm's Fairy Tales under a slightly different name.

But if you prefer your fairy tales fractured, you might also like to read "Confessions of an Ugly Wicked Step-Sister":  Click here.


  1. Very funny!!! I loved Little Red Riding Hood's cape - pestered my mom for years to make me one. Of course, I was awfully afraid of wolves - LOL! Loved your version of the story.

  2. I'm still chuckling! Love the title, love the humor, love the wolf-butt flambe. Just last night, we had a pack of coyotes out back of Cloudland, howling away. Ow-owwwwww!