Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE -

LIT­TLE Red Rid­ing Hood was a sweet lit­tle girl who got her so­bri­quet be­cause she al­ways wore a gar­net-red cloak with a hood. Her mother doted on her, and so did her grand­mother.

One sun­shiny morn­ing, Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood’s mother asked her daugh­ter to visit the lat­ter’s grand­mother. “Grandma is not feel­ing well,” the mother said. “Take this bas­ket of food to her. It’s a warm day, so carry a thirst-aid kit with you.”

Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood skipped jo­cundly along the well-trod­den path be­side the woods, en­joy­ing ev­ery minute of the matuti­nal er­rand. The birds were mak­ing tweet mu­sic in the trees, and some of them were sip­ping cof­fee in a nest-café.

All at once, a wolf ac­costed Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood. He wanted to eat her up but was afraid to do so, for some wood­cut­ters were work­ing nearby in the for­est.

“What’s your name?” asked the wolf, who was dressed in a scare­crow’s tat­tered clothes.

“Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood,” she replied ex­u­ber­antly, think­ing that the wolf was a cranky men­di­cant who wanted to be­friend her.

The wolf thought, “Her be­di­zen­ment is red-icu­lous, and her name is a mouth­ful – but I’d like to have mouth­fuls of a ten­der young thing like Lit­tle Dead Rid­ing Hood.” And then he asked the lit­tle girl, “Where are you go­ing?”

“To Grandma’s,” Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood said. “She lives in that lit­tle tawny cot­tage that abuts the ceme­tery.”

“I see,” said the wolf. “What have you got in the pic­nic bas­ket?”

“Pan­cakes, chep­ple juice, and nat­u­ral bread made with wild flours,” she an­swered. “The pan­cakes are ex­cep­tion­ally sweet – I syrup­ti­tiously added some ex­tra sugar to the bat­ter when my mother wasn’t look­ing!”

“Pan­cakes are my bete noire – they give me the crepes!” said the wolf with a crinkly ex­pres­sion. “That’s a wide loaf with bread-th. Tell me, what is a chep­ple?”

“Oh, it’s a fruit that looks like a cherry but tastes like an ap­ple. Its juice is the quin­tes­sen­tial fruit juice,” Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood rhap­sodised about the health­ful con­tents of her pitcher. “Once you’ve tasted it, you don’t have to go on a wild juice chase any more!”

Grin­ning lop­sid­edly, the wolf said, “Why don’t you pick some flow­ers for your grandma?”

“That’s a good idea,” the spunky girl said. “I know what kind of flow­ers to look for – when you are kiss­ing a flower, tulips are bet­ter than one!” And she wan­dered into the woods to carry out the task.

“That was a rather pre­cip­i­tate course of ac­tion on her part,” the wolf said with a gig­gle. “This will give me am­ple time to get to her grandma’s cot­tage be­fore she does. It will be im-paw-ssi­ble for her to es­cape from my clutches, for I am ready, vil­lain and able to eat her up!” And he took a short cut and reached the old woman’s abode a short while later. He rapped sharply on the door. “Who’s there?” asked a voice. “It’s Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood!” said the lupine an­i­mal in an au­da­cious sim­u­lacrum of the lit­tle girl’s voice.

Grandma sensed that some­thing was amiss, for she didn’t hear her grand­daugh­ter’s fa­mil­iar foot­fall. She just man­aged to hide in­side a cup­board be­fore the wolf barged in. See­ing no one around, he got into the bed and waited for Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood.

When Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood ar­rived at the cot­tage, it did not oc­cur to her that the bro­ken es­cutcheon of the door han­dle be­to­kened dan­ger for her. Fur­ther­more, the an­i­mal foot­prints out­side the door did not give her paws for con­cern. En­ter­ing the bed­room, she cried, “Grandma, what big teeth you have!”

“All the bet­ter to eat you with!” cried the wolf, leap­ing out of the bed.

“Help me! Help Grandma!” screamed Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood, sheer horror flood­ing her face. “Help me help Grandma!”

Sud­denly, the griz­zled granny burst out of the cup­board and whacked the in­truder on the head with a rolling pin. The blow caused the wolf’s head to spin, so that he stag­gered like a top that was all but spent, and even­tu­ally dis­ap­peared into the woods.

“I am ravenously hun­gry!” cried Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood.

“Me, too,” said Grandma with a tooth­less grin. And they sat down at the tres­tle ta­ble and wolfed down all the food. n Adapted from a fairy tale by the Broth­ers Grimm.

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