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RED RIDING HOOD.
ONCE upon a time, there lived in a small cottage on the
edge of a deep wood, a forester and his wife, and their
dear little daughter. The little child was as lovely as a pic-
ture, and a great pet with everybody. Her mother liked to
see her prettily dressed, and made her a red cloak with a
hood to it, so that the neighbors gave her the name of
Little Red Riding Hood.
She was a merry little maid, and went about the house
singing and laughing the whole day long. She made friends
with birds, and with beasts, and was not afraid of anything,
not even the dark.
One day Red Riding Hood's mother said to her, "My
child, you may go to your grandmother's with this pat of
butter, and bottle of blackberry-wine, for we have not heard
from her in some days, and she may be in need of some-
thing. Do not stay too long, for I shall be anxious to hear
how she is."
The old lady had not been well for some time, and some
days was so lame that she could not get out of bed, and had
to depend on the neighbors to come in and get her meals.
Red Riding Hood was delighted to do her mother's errand,
for she was fond of her grandmother, who always had funny
stories to tell, or something nice to give her when she went
there on a visit.
The Baldwin Library
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.
So her mother put on her scarlet cloak, gave her the well-
filled basket, kissed her good-by, and sent her off with many
loving messages for the poor sick grandmother.
Her way led through the lonesome woods, but Little
Red Riding Hood was not the least bit afraid, for she was
used to playing in them, and running races through them,
never minding whether she kept in the path or not. So she
went on as happy as a lark, looking back now and then,
as long as her home was in sight, to see if her mother was
still at the door, and to throw her a kiss from the tips of her
For a long, long time after Red Riding Hood had gone
so far that she could not see the house, her mother stood in
the doorway with a smile on her face, every now and then
catching a glimpse of the bright red cloak that shone through
the trees, and thinking how pretty her dear little daughter
looked in it, with her soft curls flying out beyond the cun-
How glad she was that she had such a dear little girl;
and how lonesome the house was when she was not in it!
Why it seemed as if all the sunshine had gone into the
woods, and was wrapped in under the pretty red cloak, that
the very geese knew enough to admire.
The birds kept Little Red Riding Hood company, and
sang her their sweetest songs. The squirrels ran up and
down the tall trees, and made her laugh at their funny antics.
Now and then a rabbit would come across her path, and
sometimes Red Riding Hood would put down her basket,
and give chase to the bunnies, hoping she might catch one
of the pretty white pets. But they always managed to get
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LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.
out of her way, for they could jump faster than she could
Butterflies darted here and there-some light yellow,
some with soft gray wings-and Red Riding Hood ran after
these until she was tired. Sometimes one would poise on a
green leaf close at hand, and just as Red Riding Hood was
about to seize the pretty thing, away it would go deeper in
the woods, and seem to urge her to follow.
By-and-by she grew hungry and sat down on a flat stone
to eat the nice lunch her mother had put up for her, and oh,
how good it did taste!
The birds came round her for their share, and it was fun
to see them crowd on each other and squabble over the
crumbs. How they did chatter and scold! And what
greedy things they were! You could almost hear them say,
"Let that alone! That's mine I was here first! O you
pig!" and when the crumbs were all gone they all cried,
"More! more! more !" or at least it sounded as if they did.
It was so lovely in the woods, that Red Riding Hood was
in no hurry to leave them. Wild flowers were plentiful, and
she said aloud, Oh, I must stop and pick some for grand-
mother, she is so fond of them I"
So she went out of the path to gather the fox-gloves, the
wild honey-suckles, and dark wood violets that were grow-
ing all around, and with these and some sweet ferns and
long grasses she made a very pretty nosegay.
But dear me when she turned to go back to the path
she could not find it, and for a moment she was scared for
she thought she was lost in the woods.
The birds knew of her plight, and as she had been good
LITTLE RED R1)ING HOOD.
to them, they would be good to her, so two of them flew
down, and calling to Red Riding Hood in their pretty, coax-
ing way, led her out of the tangle of brush-wood into the
smooth path, and to the very place where she had left her
She had not gone very far before she met with a wolf,
who came up and spoke to her; which was not strange, as
wolves and fairies were quite common in those days.
"Good-day," said the wolf. "Where are you going all
alone by yourself, my pretty riss?"
"I am going to my grandmother's," said Little Red Rid-
ing Hood, "to take her some fresh butter and nice black-
berry-wine, for she is quite sick."
She ought to be proud of such a lovely grand-daughter,"
said the wolf. "I don't know when I have met any one
quite so handsome."
Flattered by these compliments, Red Riding Hood let the
wolf walk by her side, although the birds kept warning her
that he was a wicked rogue, and she'd better get rid of him.
She had an idea, that poor company was better than none,
which was a mistaken notion, for it is much better to be alone
than in bad company, as Little Red Riding Hood found out.
"Where does grandma live?" asked the wolf in as sweet
a voice as he could command.
"Just outside the woods. You can see her cottage
through the trees."
"Ah, yes;" said the wolf. "I think I'll call on the dear
old lady. She will certainly be glad to see me when she
learns how skillful I am in curing diseases. I am sorry that
I cannot go all the way with you, my dear, to take care of
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LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.
you, for there are many bad creatures in these woods who
might do you harm. But I have an errand to do just be-
yond here, and must be off at once;" and making a polite
bow, he scampered away as fast as his legs could carry him.
Red Riding Hood was so young that she did not know that
though wolves might appear to be as mild as sheep, they
were still wolves at heart, ready to bite and rend whatever
came in their way. She was kind and gentle herself, and
thought everybody was the same. She had yet to learn that
often those who pretend to be our best friends, turn out to
be our worst enemies. They are fair to our face, and false
behind our back. They deceive us by their soft sweet ways,
and do their best to put us off our guard.
The wolf took a short cut out of the woods, and soon
came to the cottage of Red Riding Hood's grandmother. A
bird on a spray outside, fairly screeched to give warning to
the old lady within, but if she heard it she did not know
what it meant.
The wolf rapped gently at the door, and the old lady, who
was in bed, roused herself and said, "Is that you, darling?
Pull the string and the latch will fly up."
The wolf pulled the string, and stood still a moment ere
he opened the door. He thought he heard footsteps near,
for hunters now and then went through the woods in search
of game, but it was only the bird on the spray, who made a
frantic effort to scare off the wicked intruder.
But the wolf knew there was no time to waste, so he
slipped through the door of the cottage, which soon flew
back on its hinges.
I am ever so glad you've come, darling," said the grand-
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.
mother, imagining that her visitor was Little Red Riding
Hood. "I'm rather more poorly than usual, dear, and it
pains me to turn my head."
I'm so sorry," said the wolf, mimicking the voice of the
little grand-daughter. "Mother's sent you something nice
in a basket."
"Well, put it on a chair, dear, and take off your cloak;
and then come and give me a kiss."
"That I'll do at once!" said the wolf as he sprang on the
bed, and glared in the face of the grandmother, who tried
to beat him off with her crutch. But she had not strength
to battle with such a foe, and the hungry wolf, with glaring
red eyes, ate up Red Riding Hood's poor dear grandmother,
like the cruel monster that he was!
O the blood-thirsty, horrible wretch!
It makes one shudder to think of the terrible deed! But
this was not all! The taste of blood, had made him thirst for
more; so he put on the old lady's nightcap and gown, and
snuggled himself down under the bed-clothes, to wait for
Red Riding Hood to appear.
What a slow-poke she was I It seemed as if she never
would come and the longer the wolf waited, the crosser he
got! Several times he had cocked up his head, thinking he
heard her at the door, and still she did not come. He was
just beginning to think she never would find her way out of
the woods, when he heard a low rap at the door. The little
girl rapped softly, for she thought that grandma might be
asleep, and she didn't wish to disturb her.
The wolf waited awhile, then called out as the old lady
had done: "Is that you, darling? Pull the string, and the
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LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.
latch wi!l fly up." His voice was rather harsh, but not un-
like the grandmother's when she had a bad cold.
So Red Riding Hood pulled the string, and went into the
house, set her basket on a chair and took off her cloak, with
just a glance at the bed on which she thought her grand-
mother was lying. Then she had a wee bit of a frolic with
the tame crow, who hopped around in a queer kind of a way,
and didn't act near as funny as usual. She supposed it was
because her grandmother was sick; for crows are knowing
Presently Little Red Riding Hood went up to the bed-
side, and was scared at the change that had come over her
poor sick grandmother. What could ail her to make her
look like this ? She must have some terrible disease !
The child stared and stared, and her breath came quick
Why, Grannie," she said, as soon as she could speak,
"what big eyes you've got 1"
The better to see with, my child," said the wolf, imita-
ting the grandmother's voice as much as possible.
"And oh, Grannie," exclaimed the child, "what a great
long nose you've got!"
The better to smell with, my child."
But, Grannie, what great big ears you've got!"
"The better to hear with, my child."
Red Riding Hood began to grow more scared than she
had ever been in all her life, and her voice trembled when
"Oh, Grannie, what great-big-teeth-you've- got "
"The better to eat you up!" said the wolf, in his own
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD..
natural voice; and he was just about putting his long, sharp
yellow fangs in the child's soft white flesh, when the door
was flung open, a dog sprang at the wolf's throat and made
him let go his hold, and Little Red Riding Hood fainted in
her father's arms.
He was on his way home from work, and just in time to
save his dear little daughter from being eaten up by the
wicked wolf that had devoured her grandmother.
With one or two strokes of the axe the forester cut off
the wolf's head, so that he could do no more harm in the
world, and his body was thrown out of doors for the jack-
als to feed on.
Friends from far and near came to see Little Red Riding
Hood, and to congratulate her and her parents. She had to
tell, over and over again, just where she met the wolf, how
he looked, and what he said, until it seemed as if she never
got out of the woods at all, not even in her dreams.
When children were told the story it was always with this
word of warning: When you are sent on an errand, go
right along and do it as quickly as you can. Do not stop to
play on the road, or to make friends with strangers, who may
turn out to be wolves in sheeps' clothing.
And they promised to remember, and shuddered when-
ever they thought what might have been the fate of dear
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.
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