Little Red Riding Hood
Perrault's Fairy Tales, trans. A. E. Johnson (Dodd Mead &
Once upon a time there was a little village
girl, the prettiest that had ever been seen. Her mother doted on her. Her
grandmother was even fonder, and made her a little red hood, which became
her so well that everywhere she went by the name of Little Red Riding Hood.
One day her mother, who had just made and baked some cakes, said to her:
“Go and see how your grandmother is, for I have
been told that she is ill. Take her a cake and this little pot of butter."
Little Red Riding Hood set off at once
for the house of her grandmother, who lived in another village.
On her way through a wood she met old
Father Wolf. He would have very much liked to eat her, but dared not do
so on account of some woodcutters who were in the forest. He asked her
where she was going. The poor child, not knowing that it was dangerous
to stop and listen to a wolf said:
“I am going to see my grandmother, and am
taking her a cake and a pot of butter which my mother has sent to her."
“Does she live far away?” asked the Wolf.
“Oh yes,” replied Little Red Riding Hood;
“it is yonder by the mill which you can see right below there, and it is
the first house in the village."
“Well now,” said the Wolf, “I think
I shall go and see her too. I will go by this path, and you by that path,
and we will see who gets there first.”
The Wolf set off running with all his
might by the shorter road, and the little girl continued on her way by
the longer road. As she went she amused herself by gathering nuts, running
after the butterflies, and making nosegays of the wild flowers which she
The Wolf was not long in reaching the
grandmother’s house. He knocked. Toc Toc.
“Who is there?”
“It is your little daughter, Red
Riding Hood,” said the Wolf, disguising his voice, “and I bring you a cake
and a little pot of butter as a present from my mother.”
The worthy grandmother was in
bed, not being very well, and cried out to him:
“Pull out the peg and the latch
The Wolf drew out the peg and the door
flew open. Then he sprang upon the poor old lady and ate her up in less
than no time, for he had been more than three days without food.
After that he shut the door, lay down
in the grandmother’s bed, and waited for Little Red Riding Hood.
Presently she came and knocked. Toc
“Who is there?”
Now Little Red Riding Hood on hearing
the Wolf’s gruff voice was at first frightened, but thinking that her grandmother
had a bad cold, she replied:
“It is your little daughter, Red Riding
Hood, and I bring you a cake and a little pot of butter from my mother.”
Softening his voice, the Wolf called
out to her:
“Pull out the peg and the latch will
Little Red Riding Hood drew out the
peg and the door flew open.
When he saw her enter, the Wolf hid
himself in the bed beneath the counterpane.
“Put the cake and the little pot of
butter on the bin,” he said, “and come up on the bed with me.”
Little Red Riding Hood took off
her clothes, but when she climbed up on the bed she was astonished to see
how her grandmother looked in her nightgown.
“Grandmother dear!” she exclaimed, “what
big arms you have!”
“The better to embrace you, my child!”
“Grandmother dear, what big legs you
“The better to run with, my child!”
“Grandmother dear, what big ears you
“The better to hear with, my child!”
“Grandmother dear, what big eyes you
“The better to see with, my child!”
“Grandmother dear, what big teeth you
“The better to eat you with!”
With these words the wicked Wolf leaped
upon Little Red Riding Hood and gobbled her up.
Little girls, this seems to say,
Never stop upon your way.
Never trust a stranger-friend;
No one knows how it will end.
As you’re pretty, so be wise;
Wolves may lurk in every guise.
Handsome they may be, and kind,
Gay, or charming — never mind!
Now, as then, ‘tis simple truth —
Sweetest tongue has sharpest tooth!