Little Red Riding Hood
Once upon a time there lived in a pretty
cottage, on the borders of a great forest, a woodman and his wife who had one
little daughter, a sweet child, and a favorite with every one. She was the joy
of her mother's heart, and to please her, the good woman made her a little
scarlet cloak and hood, in which she looked so pretty, that everybody called her
Little Red Riding-Hood.
One day her mother told her she meant to send her to her grandmother-- a very
old lady who lived in the heart of a neighboring wood--to take her some fresh
butter and new-laid eggs and a nice cake. Little Red Riding-Hood was delighted
at being sent on this errand, for she liked to do kind things, and it was such a
very long time since she had seen her grandmother, that she had almost forgotten
what the old lady looked like.
The sun was shining brightly, but it was not too
warm under the shade of the old trees, and Little Red Riding-Hood went on her
way singing and gathering great bunches of wild flowers to give to her
grandmother. She sang so sweetly that a cushat dove flew down from a tree and
Now, it happened that a wolf, a very cruel,
greedy creature, also heard her as she passed, and longed to eat her for his
breakfast, but he knew Hugh, the woodman, was at work very near with his great
dog, and he was afraid they might hear Little Red Riding-Hood cry out if he
frightened her, and then they would kill him. So, after following her a little
way, he came up to her very gently and said, "Good day, Little Red Riding-Hood,
where are you going?"
"To see my grandmother," said the child, "and
take her a present from mother of eggs and butter and cake."
"Where does your grandmother live?" asked the
"Quite in the middle of the wood," she replied.
"Oh! I think I know the house. Good-bye, Little
Red Riding-Hood." And the wolf ran off as fast as he could go.
Little Red Riding-Hood was not in a hurry, and
there were many things to amuse her in the wood. She ran after the white and
yellow butterflies that danced before her, and sometimes she caught one, but she
always let it go again, for she never liked to hurt any creature.
And then there were the merry, cunning little
squirrels to watch, cracking nuts on the branches of the old trees, and every
now and then a rabbit would hurry away through the tall ferns, or a great bee
come buzzing near her, and she would stop to watch it gathering honey from the
flowers and wild thyme. So she went on very slowly. By-and-by she saw Hugh, the
woodman. "Where are you going, Little Red Riding-Hood," said he, "all alone?"
"I am going to my grandmama's," said the child,
"Good-bye; I must make haste now, for it is becoming late."
While little Red Riding-Hood was playing in the
wood, the great wolf galloped on as fast as he could to the old lady's house.
She lived all by herself, and a neighbor's child came once or twice a day to
tidy the house and get her food. Now, grandmother was very feeble, and was often
obliged to keep her bed; and it happened that she was in bed the day Little Red
Riding-Hood went to see her. When the wolf reached the cottage door he tapped.
"Who is there?" asked the old lady.
"Little Red Riding-Hood, granny," said the wolf,
trying to speak like the child.
"Come in, my dear," said the old lady, who was a
little deaf. "Pull the string and the latch will come up."
The wolf did as she told him, and went in, and
you may think how frightened poor grandmother was when she saw him instead of
Little Red Riding-Hood.
Now, the wolf, who was quite hungry after his
run, soon eat up the poor old lady. Indeed, she was not enough for his
breakfast, and so he thought he would like to eat sweet Little Red Riding-Hood
also. Therefore, he dressed himself in granny's night-cap and got into bed, and
waited for the child to knock at the door.
By-and-by, Little Red Riding-Hood reached her
grandmother's house, and tapped at the door.
"Come in," said the wolf, in a squeaking voice.
"Pull the string, and the latch will come up."
Little Red Riding-Hood thought her grandmother
must have a cold, as she spoke so hoarsely; but she went in at once, and there
lay her granny, as she thought, in bed.
"If you please, granny, mother has sent me with
some butter and eggs."
But when Little Red Riding-Hood saw the wolf she
felt frightened. She had nearly forgotten her grandmother, but she did not think
she had been so ugly.
"Grandmother," she said, "what a great nose you
"All the better to smell with, my dear," said
"And, grandmother, what large ears you have."
"All the better to hear with, my dear."
"Ah! grandmother, and what large eyes you have."
"All the better to see with, my dear," said the
wolf, showing his teeth, for he longed to eat the child up.
"Oh, grandmother, and what great teeth you
have!" said Little Red Riding-Hood.
"All the better to eat you up with," growled the
wolf, and, jumping out of bed, he rushed at Little Red Riding-Hood, and would
have eaten her up, but just at that minute the door flew open, and a great dog
tore him down. The wolf and the dog were still fighting when Hugh, the woodman,
came in and killed the wicked wolf with his axe.
Little Red Riding-Hood threw her arms round the
woodman Hugh's neck, and kissed him, and thanked him again and again.
"Oh, you good, kind Hugh, she said, how did you
know the wolf was here, in time to save me?"
"Well," said Hugh, "after you had passed, I
remembered that a wolf had been seen about the wood lately, and I thought I
would just come after you and see if you were safe. When we came near your
grandmother's house, Trim sniffed and ran to the door and whined, and then he
pushed it open--as you had not shut it close--and rushed in; and I followed him,
and between us we have killed the wolf."
Then Hugh took the child home, and her mother
and father could not thank him enough for saving their Little Red Riding-Hood,
who was immediately clasped in her delighted mother's arms.