Little Red Riding Hood
Original name: Little Red-Cap
Once upon a time there was a little girl who was loved by everyone, but most of all by her grandmother. There was nothing the grandmother would not have given the child.
Once she gave her a little cap of red velvet. It suited her so well she would never wear anything else. So she was always called Little Red-Cap.
One day her mother said to her, “Little Red-Cap, here is a piece of cake and a bottle of wine. Take them to your grandmother. She is ill and weak and they will do her good. Do not run off the path or you may fall and break the bottle. When you go into her room, don’t forget to say, ‘Good morning’.”
“I will take care,” said Little Red-Cap.
The grandmother lived out in the wood, a mile and a half from the village. Just as Little Red-Cap entered the wood, a wolf met her. Red-Cap did not know what a wicked creature he was and was not at all afraid of him.
“Good day, Little Red-Cap,” said he.
“Thank you, wolf.”
“Where are you going so early, Little Red-Cap?” he asked.
“To my grandmother’s,” Red-Cap replied.
“What have you got in your apron?”
“Cake and wine. Yesterday was baking day. Poor, sick grandmother is to have something good to make her stronger.”
“Where does your grandmother live?”
“A good three-quarters of a mile farther on in the wood. Her house stands under the three large oak trees. The nut trees are just below, as you surely must know,” replied Little Red-Cap.
The wolf thought, What a tender young creature! She will be better to eat than the old woman. I must catch both.
So he walked for a short time by the side of Little Red-Cap. Then he said, “See how pretty the flowers are here? Why do you not look round? I believe you also do not hear how sweetly the little birds are singing. You walk along as if you were going to school. Everything else out here in the wood is merry.”
Little Red-Cap raised her eyes. She saw the sunbeams dancing through the trees and pretty flowers growing everywhere. She thought, Suppose I take grandmother a fresh bouquet. That would please her. I shall still get there in good time.
And so she ran from the path into the wood to look for flowers. Whenever she picked one, she fancied she saw a prettier one farther on. She ran after it and got deeper and deeper into the wood.
Meanwhile the wolf ran straight to the grandmother’s house and knocked on the door.
“Who is there?”
“Little Red-Cap bringing cake and wine,” said the wolf in a little-girl voice. “Open the door.”
“Lift the latch,” called the grandmother. “I am too weak and cannot get up.”
The wolf lifted the latch. The door sprang open. He went straight to the grandmother’s bed without a word and devoured her. He put on her clothes and cap, closed the curtains, and climbed in the bed.
When Little Red-Cap had gathered so many flowers she could carry no more, she remembered her grandmother. She set out on the way to her.
She was surprised to find the cottage door standing open. When she went into the room, she had such a strange feeling.
“Good morning,” Little Red-Cap called out.
But she received no answer. So she went to the bed and drew back the curtains.
There lay her grandmother with her cap pulled far over her face and looking very strange.
“Oh, Grandmother, what big ears you have!”
“The better to hear you with, my child,” was the reply.
“But, Grandmother, what big eyes you have!” she said.
“The better to see you with, my dear.”
“But, Grandmother, what large hands you have!” Little Red-Cap said.
“The better to hug you with.”
“Oh but, Grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have!”
“The better to eat you with!”
With one bound the wolf was out of the bed. He swallowed up Little Red-Cap. When the wolf had satisfied his appetite, he lay down again in the bed. He fell asleep and began to snore very loudly.
A huntsman was just passing the house. He thought, How the old woman is snoring! I must see if she wants anything. So he went into the room. When he came to the bed, he saw the wolf was lying in it.
“Here you are!” he said. “I have long sought you!” He was going to fire at him but realized the wolf might have eaten the grandmother. So he took a pair of scissors and began to cut open the stomach of the sleeping wolf. When he had made two snips, he saw Little Red-Cap. Two snips more and the girl sprang out.
“How frightened I have been!” she exclaimed. “How dark it is inside the wolf!”
After that the grandmother came out alive also, but scarcely able to breathe.
Little Red-Cap quickly fetched some large stones. She and the huntsman filled the wolf’s belly with them. When the wolf awoke, he wanted to run away. But the stones were so heavy he collapsed at once and fell dead.
All three were delighted. The huntsman drew off the wolf’s skin and went home with it. The grandmother ate the cake and drank the wine that Little Red-Cap had brought.
Little Red-Cap thought, As long as I live, I will never leave the path by myself to run into the wood when my mother has forbidden me to do so.
On another outing, Little Red-Cap was again taking cakes to the old grandmother when another wolf spoke to her. He tried to lure her from the path.
Little Red-Cap was on her guard. She went straight on her way. She told her grandmother she had met the wolf and he had said “good morning” to her. But he had such a wicked look, she was sure he would have eaten her up had they not been on a public road.
The grandmother said, “Well, we will shut the door so he may not come in.” Soon after the wolf knocked, and cried, “Open the door, Grandmother. I am Little Red-Cap with some cakes for you.”
They did not speak or open the door. So the graybeard stole round the house and jumped on the roof. He planned to wait until Little Red-Cap went home in the evening. Then he would devour her in the darkness.
The grandmother saw what was in his thoughts. In front of the house was a great stone trough. She said to the child, “I made some sausages yesterday. Take the pail and carry the water that I boiled them in to the trough.”
Little Red-Cap carried the water until the trough was full. The smell of the sausages reached the wolf. He sniffed and peeped down. At last, he stretched out his neck so far that he began to slip. He slipped down the roof straight into the trough and drowned.
Little Red-Cap went joyously home and no one ever did anything to harm her again.
Happy English learning!!