A Modern Fairy Tale

One day, as I was telling the Red Riding Hood story to my friend’s young daughters, I realized I did not want to teach these young girls that a wood chopper, or someone else,  would always be nearby to rescue them from wolves.  So, I changed the story a bit…DH

Not So Little Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood woke one cool fall morning and thought it would be a good day to visit grandma in her cottage in the forest.

“Why don’t you take her a basket of goodies?” Red’s mother suggested as she took freshly baked whole wheat bread from the oven. Wrapping a crusty loaf in a clean towel she placed it into a basket. Then she and Red picked some pears from a tree near the patio and placed them in the basket. After adding a block of low-fat farmer’s cheese, a jar of all-fruit jam and a small tub of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” Red was ready.

“It might start raining before you get home,” Mother Ridinghood said. “You had better wear your raincoat.”

Red finished tying the laces of her hiking shoes and slipped her arms in the red hooded coat her mother was holding.

Skipping down the lane toward the forest, Red hummed a happy song. She was filled with the joy of being alive on such a beautiful day. Goodbye hot days of summer. Autumn’s colors will soon be on the trees…time for fairs and October fests.

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Pausing to admire the ever-faithful crepe myrtles and four o’clocks, she was careful not to disturb the worker bees as they went about their job of sipping nectar and scattering pollen.

Approaching the forest, Red could hear two doves calling from a tall tree at the edge of the forest. Their mournful coo-ah…coo-ah seemed inappropriate on such a lovely day. But perhaps they could see things, she could not…yet.

The shady forest retained some of nighttime’s chill. Red was glad her mother had suggested she wear her cloak. However, the hood blocked her side vision and she did not notice when a big bad wolf began to silently follow her for a time before it ran ahead to grandma’s house to plan a little surprise.

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Sneaking into grandma’s house, the wolf quickly tied the elder woman’s hands and feet and pushed her into a closet. He donned one of granny’s flannel nighties and her lace trimmed sleep hat and jumped into bed just as Red opened the door.

“Grandma?” Red called.

“I’m in here Dearie,” the wolf said in his best falsetto voice.

“Oh, grandma, what big ears you have,” Red exclaimed as she set her basket on a table.

“The better to hear you with my dear,” the wolf croaked, trying for the falsetto once more.

“Grandma, what big eyes you have,” Red added as she removed her cloak.

“Grandma, what big teeth you have,” Red said suspicion, at long last dawning.

“The better to eat you with!” The wolf cried, abandoning all attempts to disguise himself as he leapt from the bed to grab Red.

Red, who worked out everyday in her home gym and who had seen all the Karate Kid movies, spun around, slamming the heel of her hiking shoe along side the big bad wolf’s head. She followed with a karate chop to his neck and a quick thrust to his mid- section.

The wolf had heard this story many times nestled with his brothers and sisters in their den.  He knew how it was “supposed” to end and was taken completely off-guard. Hey, that hurts he began to howl in wolf language.  A wood chopper who was working nearby rushed in just in time to rescue the wolf from the young woman, who had pushed the wolf’s face down on the floor and twisted his front leg behind his back.

By this time, granny had untied herself and emerged from the closet. Red, seeing that grandma was unharmed, set about making a pot of tea to go with the goodies she’d brought. They invited the wood chopper to come back after he had helped the battered wolf get safely home. The grateful wolf quickly gathered his family and they set out to join some relatives who had recently moved to Yellowstone.

The wood chopper returned to Grandma’s where he sipped tea and nibbled fruit and cheese and asked Red questions such as: “What is your sign? Do you like to take long walks in the rain?”

He also urged Red to visit an optometrist soon to be fitted for eyeglasses.

“That wolf didn’t look anything at all like your grandma,” he told her.

Dorothy Hamm © 2001

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