Food and the Fairy Tale;
Into the Dark, Deep Woods
Translation: Copyright FairyTaleChannel.com
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There once lived a sweet, young lass. Everyone who put eyes on her loved her but her grandmother loved her most of all and she showered her with gifts. Once she gave her a present, a little hat made of red velvet. Because she looked so pretty in it and the girl didn’t want to wear anything else, she was now called Little Red Riding Hood (or Little Red Cap).
One day her mother said to her: “Come Red Riding Hood. Here is a piece of cake and a bottle of wine. Take this to grandmother. She is ill and weak and will gain strength from it. Be on your way now before it get’s too hot. But while you are walking be especially good and do not stray from the path. If you do, you shall break the glass and grandmother shall have nothing at all. And when you arrive in her chamber, don’t forget to say “Good Morning” and don’t let your eyes wander around looking in every nook and cranny.”
“I’ll be good,” Red Riding Hood said to her mother and gave her hand in promise. Now grandmother lived deep in the forest, a half hour’s walk from the village. When Red Riding Hood entered the forest she encountered a wolf. But Red Riding Hood did not know what an evil creature it was and was not frightened.
“Good Day, Red Riding Hood,” the wolf said.
“And good day to you, wolf,” was her reply.
“Where are you going so early in the morning, Red Riding Hood?”
“What are you carrying under your apron?”
“Cake and wine. We baked yesterday and now our sick and weak grandmother shall refresh herself and regain her strength.”
“Red Riding Hood, where does your grandmother live?”
“Still a quarter hour’s walk in the forest, under three large oak trees. Her house stands by the hazel hedge row, certainly you know that,” Red Riding Hood replied.
The wolf was thoughtful “This young, sweet thing will be a tasty morsel. She will taste better than the old woman. But I must be cunning so I get both.”
He walked a while beside Red Riding Hood, then he said: “Red Riding Hood, look at the pretty little flowers at the side of the path. Why don’t you take a look around?” I believe you don’t even hear how sweetly the little birds are singing? You walk along so soberly as if you were going to school and it is so merry to be in the forest.”
Red Riding Hood opened her eyes and when she saw how the sun beams filtered through the trees, dancing and flickering back and forth and how the woods were full of beautiful flowers, she thought “If I bring grandmother a fresh bouquet she shall also be happy. It is so early in the day that I shall still arrive in time.” She ran from the path into the woods and looked for flowers. And when she had broken off one stem, she thought a much prettier flower lay ahead. And so she ran and ran and went deeper and deeper into the forest.
But the wolf went straight to the house of the grandmother and knocked on the door. “Who is there?”
“Red Riding Hood who is bringing you cake and wine, open up!”
“Press on the latch,” the grandmother called, “I am too weak and cannot get up.”
The wolf pressed on the latch and the door fell open. Without saying a word, he went straight to the grandmother’s bed and devoured her. Then he put on her clothes, put on her bonnet and lay down in her bed, pulling the curtains all around.
But Red Riding Hood had been picking flowers and when she had so many that she couldn’t carry any more, she remembered her grandmother and continued on her way. She was surprised to see the door open and when she entered the chamber it seemed so strange that she thought “Good gracious, how frightened I am, when usually I enjoy visiting grandmother.” She called out “Good morning,” but heard no reply. She approached the bed and pulled back the curtains. There lay the grandmother, who had pulled her bonnet so deeply over her face, she looked quite odd.
“Grandmother, what big ears you have!”
“The better to hear you with.”
“Grandmother, what big eyes you have!”
“The better to see you with.”
“Grandmother, what big hands you have!”
“The better to grab you with.”
“But grandmother, you have such a horribly large snout!”
“The better to eat you with!”
The wolf had hardly spoken these words when he lunged from bed and devoured poor Red Riding Hood.
When the wolf had stilled his cravings, he lay back down in bed and began to snore loudly. A huntsman was just passing the house and thought to himself
“How loudly the old woman is snoring! Go see if something is the matter.”
He entered the chamber and when he got to the bed he saw the wolf lying there.
“So here I find you, you old sinner,” the huntsman said. “I have searched for you a very long time.”
He wanted to use his rifle but he thought the wolf could have eaten the grandmother and she might still be saved. He didn’t shoot but took scissors and began to cut open the belly of the sleeping wolf. When he had made a few cuts, he saw the bright red cap gleaming; He made a few more cuts and the girl jumped out and called “How frightened I was in the dark belly of the wolf!”
Then the grandmother emerged still alive but could hardly breathe. Little Red Riding Hood immediately brought large stones and they filled the wolf’s belly. When he awoke and wanted to jump away, the stones were so heavy that he immediately sank down and fell over dead.
All three were gay; the huntsman skinned the wolf and went home. The grandmother ate the cake and drank the wine that Red Riding Hood had brought and soon recovered. But Red Riding Hood thought “For as long as I live I shall not stray from the path and go into the forest when mother has forbidden it.”
For further reading:
Wolf mythology and the Christmas wolf:
An analysis of mythological themes in Little Red Riding Hood:
Click on link for more fairy tales:
Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.com