Once upon a time there was a young girl named Little Red Riding Hood. This girl was very spoilt. She lived alone with her mother who doted on her every whim, turning a blind eye to her many faults. The only chore which Little Red could not get away from was her weekly journey to her grandmother’s house.
Now, Little Red’s grandmother loved the little girl as much as her mother did. She was the one who had made the bright cloak which Little Red wore everywhere. But Grandmother had much more sense than the mother, she could see Little Red for what she really was: a spoilt, bratty little madam. The reason Little Red hated these trips was because her grandmother would go on and on about how terrible her attitude was, how terrible her behaviour was, how terribly she treated everyone around her.
Unfortunately, the grandmother was not getting any younger and her health was failing too, which meant that she was spending more of her days in bed, relying on her granddaughter to visit with food and company. But Little Red, mean-spirited as she was, had taken it upon herself to seek revenge against her grandmother. Every week she would sit on the edge of the bed and make snide comments about the terrible state of the little cottage, the terrible appearance of her sick grandmother, and the terrible hospitality she was given: her grandmother didn’t even get up to welcome her at the door!
It was on a wintry day, thick with snow, that this story really starts, when Little Red was harangued by her mother to go and take some baked treats to her grandmother. Little Red donned her cloak with only a little bit of moaning. Or rather, an awful lot of moaning. She stepped outside in the freezing cold, hunched over from the icy wind, covered basket swinging from her hands, and started walking the winding path through the forest to her grandmother’s cottage.
Little Red had not walked far when she was noticed by the wolf. It was not an accident that the wolf had spotted Little Red, in fact, he had planned this moment for a very long time. The wolf was very vain and thought himself exceedingly charming and cunning. He took great pride in his appearance and could seduce any young girl into letting him into their home. He knew of Little Red well, and of her weekly trips into the forest, it being his home and familiar territory. It was this night in particular that he had seen the flash of red and decided that she would be his prey.
Little Red was walking along, grumbling under her breathe about the cold and the wet, and how her fingers were numb from carrying the basket, and her boots were getting ruined by the deep snow. How could her mother make her walk in this horrible weather? Did she not love her? Did she want her to die or lose her fingers or something?
Her eye peered out from under her hood to glare at whoever had interrupted her rant. Standing just off the path, leaning elegantly against a tree, was the wolf. His fur was sleek and damp from the snow, giving it a dark and lustrous sheen. His eyes were bright, and he had a smile on his face that could melt butter.
‘What is a pretty young thing like you doing out here in this awful weather?’
Little Red sneered and ignored him, continuing down her grumbling path.
The wolf was shocked, taken aback. Nobody had ever ignored his charm before. Shaking himself as if waking from a dream, he bristled down the path after her.
‘You shouldn’t be walking here alone, you know. Anything could happen.’ He swaggered in front her, shooting her another one of his killer smiles.
‘I know my way around, thanks.’ Said Little Red coolly. ‘Could you move, I’m expected somewhere.’ She stomped her boots, causing a smattering of snow to land on his paws, and pushed past him.
The wolf was persistent. ‘I’ll bet you don’t know this place as well as I do. Where are you headed? I’m bound to know a short-cut. I know this forest like the back of my paw.’ And with a flourish he stepped in front of her again, bowing slightly, and extending one of his paws, claws respectfully tucked away.
‘Look,’ said Little Red, losing her temper. ‘Piss off, alright! My life is crappy enough without things like you getting in my face all the time. Stop delaying me, it’s bloody freezing!’
Now the wolf was completely horrified. His usual suspects were young innocents. They would blush prettily and never swear. He watched the red cape hurry off down the path and thought, she’s not getting away that easily! I know where she’s going, I’ve followed her enough times. All I need is a different strategy. And the wolf shot off through the trees, for he did indeed know all the short-cuts, but only because only he ever dared to break from the path.
The wolf had reached the grandmothers house in double quick time; knocked on the door; let himself in; knocked poor grandmother hard on the head and shoved her in a cupboard to eat later (he didn’t have time just then); and quickly put on a nightdress and lunged into bed, burying himself deep under the covers to hide his obvious appearance. Ugh, I feel horrible, the wolf thought. What a slouchy bed, my back is going to be aching! No wonder the old crone is unwell.
At that moment came another knock at the door and Little Red let herself in, calling out as she did so.
‘Hello Grandma. I’ve brought some of mums cakes. I’m sure you’re too ill to eat them, shall I help you out?’
She perched on the end of the bed without even taking her wet clothes off or glancing at her grandmother, and began to eat her way through the collection of cakes.
The wolf waited patiently, watching his delicious prey fatten herself up in front of him. He was feeling much calmer, content knowing that he was going to get his dinner.
Eventually, Little Red looked up and saw the face of the wolf in her grandmothers bed.
‘My, Grandmamma, what large eyes you have. Positively bulbous! You look like you’re going to burst a blood vessel staring at me like that.’
And with that, wolf’s good mood completely vanished. He scowled and threw back the covers, reaching out a hand towards the girl.
‘My Grandmamma, what hairy arms you have. It’s horribly matted, have you been sweating? I didn’t know things had gotten that bad.’
The wolf snapped his jaws, he was particularly fond of his usually sleek fur, it wasn’t his fault that he’d had a particularly stressful day. He stretched his mouth wide and got ready to snap up the horrid little girl.
‘My Gradmamma, what disgustingly yellow teeth you have. Do you never brush? See these ones, they’re going green! And your breath reeks of wet doog.’
The wolf snapped his jaws in anger, flinching away from the horrible little girl. He roared into her face instead and snatched the bright red coat from her shoulders, ripping it to threads. Then he grabbed what remained in the basket of cakes and raced out the door with the pastries in his mouth: ‘I can’t take it anymore!’
Just then, the cupboard door banged open and the real Grandmother falls heavily onto the floor.
‘Well,’ says Little Red. ‘I’m glad we’re not dead, but did he have to take all the cakes?’