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In Brittany, long, long ago,
Just on the outskirts of a wood
(In which a great wolf often roamed),
A forester's small cottage stood.
A little nest of greenery,
O'er which the rose and woodbine crept,
And where, in summer, bee and bird
A constant, gentle murmuring kept.
The forester and his good wife
With one sweet little child were blest;
'Twas hard to tell in all the wood
What creature loved that infant best.
For very tender was her voice, &
And very bright her smiling eyes,
And dearest of all earthly things
That child the loving parents prize.
The Baldwin Library
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To please her little darling child,
Her mother ever kind and good,
Made of fine cloth a scarlet cloak
And just the prettiest little hood.
And people who the darling saw
Go dancing by beside the wood,
Proud of her new-won finery,
Named her "Little Red Riding-hood."
One day her mother called the child
And.said, "I wish, dear, you would take
A basket to your Grand-mamma
Of honey, butter, eggs, and cake."
She tied the hood beneath her chin,
She put the basket in her hand
And watched the little figure pass
Across the sunny meadow land.
And now within the still cool wood,
With violets. beneath her:-feet
And great oak boughs above her head,
She walked with footsteps light and fleet.
Down a vide forest path she turns,
Bordered by tall horse chestnut-trees,
Great pyramids of silver flow'rs,
Alive with swarms of murmuring bees.
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-: RED RIDING-HOOD:-
The scent of violets steals by,
Still lingering on the May-day air;
The bluebells ring a fairy chime
To stars of Bethlehem so fair.
She puts her basket on the ground
And gathers flowers on ev'ry side,
Then blends them in a nosegay sweet,
With a long trailing bindweed tied.
Now, for a long, long time a Wolf,
That neither sheep nor fawn would spare,
Haunted the wood; and no man yet,
Had found the cunning creature's lair.
It chanced the day Red Riding-hood
Was going to her Grandma's home,
The hateful beast, with stealthy step,
About the forest chose to roam,
And peeping through the chestnut boughs
Which lay flow'r-laden on the grass,
He saw, with dancing step of glee,
The pretty little wood-child pass.
He longed to feast upon her then,
And his sharp teeth in hunger ground;
But at that moment on the breeze
He heard the baying of a hound.
-: RED RIDING-HOOD:-
The coward Wolf then darted off;
But thinking that this. morsel sweet
Might soon be out of reach of help,
He ran on fast the child to meet,
While Rover, who her footsteps knew,
Came running up to lick her hand,
And for a while, to pat his head
And pet him, she was forced to stand.
Then from a distant group of trees
A woodman's whistle met his ear;
He darted off; the little maid
Passed onward without thought of fear.
And now in deepest woodland glen,
She sees a creature quite unknown,
Yet has no fear; all things she loves,
All things her loving nature own.
"Where are you going," asked the Wolf,
" Sweet little child, through this dark wood ?"
"To see my poor old Grand-mamma."
"What is your name?" Red Riding-hood.
"I'm taking her," the chatt'rer said,
"A basket with nice eggs and cake,
And golden butter from the cow,
And honey which the good bees make.
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: RED RIDING-HOOD:-
"And where, pray, does your Granny dwell ?"
Asked the sly Wolf, who just then thought
That two good feasts of human flesh
Might on this lucky day be caught.
"Her house is in the woodman's glen;
The beech-trees there are very high."
"Well, make haste on," the Wolf exclaims.
"I wish you safe, dear child; good-bye."
She nods at him with merry laugh,
A civil creature this new friend;
Then glances at the butterflies,
Which suddenly her path attend.
She must catch one! so off she sets
Upon a long and fruitless chase;
Till wearied with her toil she stops,
With panting breath and rose-flushed face.
Meantime at full speed through the wood
The Wolf upon his errand goes;
How best to get within the house
Where Granny dwells, at least he knows.
Red Riding-hood, now rather tired,
Walks slowly underneath the trees,
Till in the opening of a glen
The woodmen at their work she sees.
Then patting Rover once again,
She ran off through the farther wood.
With axe grasped in his honest hand,
Watching her still the woodman stood.
The Wolf meantime had reached the cot,
He'd often seen the house before,
And with a very gentle pat
Knocked with his paw upon the door.
"Who's there?" a voice asked from within.
"Red Riding-hood," the Wolf replied.
I'm come to see you, Grand-mamma."
To speak like the young child he tried.
He pulled the bobbin and went in,
Poor Granny trembled at the sight.
And running to a closet there
She fainted dead away with fright.
Then in grim sport he took her cap
And placed it on his shaggy head;
And-what a cruel joke it was!-
He crept into poor Granny's bed.
Just then our sweet Red Riding-hoodc
Had reached her Grandma's cottage door;
Her basket rested on her arm,
A nosegay in her hand she bore.
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"Dear Granny, it is I," she cried,
"Red Riding-hood; some gifts I bring
From mother." A gruff voice replied,
"Please pull the latch up by the string."
Well, illness sadly changes folks,
She oft has heard her mother say,
And this must be poor Grand-mamma,
Who looks so strange and rough.to-day.
Her little basket ,she presents.
"Granny, my mother sent you this,
Fresh eggs and cakes and honey sweet,
And bade me to give you a kiss.
"Good child, I thank you," growls the Wolf;
"Come here and sit upon the bed,
Take off your cloak and hood, my dear,
And let me see your golden head."
He opened then his horrid jaws;
But quickly from the bed she sprang,
And with her piercing shriek for help
The cottage and the woodland rang.
The Wolf, entangled in the bed,
Could not immediately get free;
Red Riding-hood had reached the door,
About with trembling limbs to flee,
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-: RED RIDING-HOOD:-
When suddenly a friend appears;
'Tis Rover, who, with deep hoarse bay,
Rushes within the cottage door
And springs at once upon his prey.
And Hubert follows with his axe;
Then soon upon the cottage floor
The Wolf all torn and lifeless lay:
He never would see forest more.
Brave Hubert took her in his arms
And to her mother bore her home,
Never again a lonely child
Within the forest depths to roam.
The mother blessed his timely aid
And to her bosom pressed her child,
Who to good Hubert held her hand,
And on the gallant wolf-hound smiled.
Ever since that eventful day
Red Riding-hcod's strange tale is told,
While to the children of all lands
The story never will grow old.
And every little innocent child
Who walks the first time in a wood,
Will think of the great savage Wolf,
And of the dear Red Riding-hood.
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