“From this story one learns that children, especially young lasses, pretty, courteous and well-bred, do very wrong to listen to strangers, And it is not an unheard thing if the Wolf is thereby provided with his dinner. I say Wolf, for all wolves are not of the same sort; there is one kind with an amenable disposition – neither noisy, nor hateful, nor angry, but tame, obliging and gentle, following the young maids in the streets, even into their homes. Alas! Who does not know that these gentle wolves are of all such creatures the most dangerous!”–Charles Perrault
To begin, this post DOES NOT involve one of my ’25’ songs. Its only a story…. retold.
When I was a little girl, I was fortunate to have not only one great storyteller (my mother), but also the queen of storytelling, my grandmother. She could tell you a story about anything, and make it not only believable, but interesting as well. Luckily for me, she was prone to telling darker stories: ghosts, demons and death, (thanks to her experiences as a makeshift mortician in the small town she lived in), so her stories always appealed to the morbidity that surely must have been instilled in me at or even before my birth into this lifetime.
I had a thing for fairy tales. But not the Happily Ever After variety…even as a young girl, I didn’t feel the need for some frilly prince to save me…I didn’t care that Snow White was awakened by a prince’s kiss-she was far better off with 7 little men that obviously worshipped her, and don’t even get me started on Cinderella…I would have had much more respect for her if she would have simply used the prince for his money and then pushed him from a top castle window so she would be QUEEN one day… So I suppose that even as a little girl, I was a man-eating sapling. But I’ll save that for another post.
So, because I had this unbelievable fear of Frankenstein when I was 5, I would sneak out of bed, (which was our livingroom couch at the time), and go to my grandma’s room. She was incredibly patient with me-even when I went through my Scooby-Doo Redbeard pirate phase, when I was certain that if someone didn’t keep my ear covered all night, Redbeard would take it off with a sword. Luckily, my grandma covered my ear every night with the palm of her hand until I went to sleep as she told me some of my favorite stories, which was amazingly patient of her, in my opinion.
But back to fairy tales…I’ve always loved them-the dark side of them at least. I still love Grimm’s tales, and these stories were some of my favorites to hear when I was falling asleep with my grandma faithfully protecting my ear. Luckily, she didn’t bother sugar coating the stories for me-there was rarely a Happily Ever After, which I appreciated, of course.
My very favorite tale was Little Red Riding Hood. Maybe because early on, I decided that she had her own reasons for humoring the wolf in his silly disguise. I never considered her a naive victim. EVER, but more of a brave girl that dared to taunt big bad wolves.
This is MY version of the beloved story:
Many days, the wolf had watched Red Riding Hood from afar as she walked along the path and many times he had wanted to approach her, before finally finding the nerve to speak to her one day. Upon finally speaking to her, he immediately found himself even more enthralled with her, so he suggested that she step off the path to pick a beautiful bouquet of flowers for ailing grandmother, (so he could secretly observe this angelic creature a bit longer). With a strange, new uncontrollable hunger rising…. not in his belly, but from somewhere much darker and deeper, he decided to take a shortcut to her Grandmother’s house, hoping to devise a plan to spend more time with this fascinating sweet thing upon her arrival.
Contrary to what you have probably heard, the fact that he eats Granny is incidental-he didn’t really know what else to do, so he gobbles her up and dresses in her old-lady gown and waits anxiously for Miss Lovely to arrive.
It had soon began to rain on Red as she slipped along the muddy path to Grandmother’s, her fist tightly clenching the wilting wild flowers, and upon reaching Grandmother’s door, she smelled the same strange musky scent she had noticed upon the wolf’s clothing and peeks of fur beneath his collar, something that she was not entirely put off by, (to put it nicely). As a matter of fact, during their encounter, she found him to not only be very gentlemanly, but also oddly attractive and had felt a bit sad when he had said his quick goodbye, wondering if she had done or said something distasteful to this well-versed & thoughtful Man-wolf.
She hadn’t bothered to knock, since Grandmother would be in bed, feigning yet another mysterious illness (aka she was such a lazy old cow!), so she opened the door and she wiped her feet and tried dusting the wetness from her cape. It took every ounce of her will to NOT laugh at the ridiculous sight of what was obviously the wolf… dressed in Grandmother’s favourite flannel gown adorned with the pale, pink roses, but she enjoyed the sight of such a supposedly big bad wolf dressed in the delicate gown and matching cap that fit awkwardly around the wolf’s big, big pointy ears, so she played along with the amusing game, steeping much closer to bed.
After the familiar ‘better to (see, hear, smell) scenario we have all heard countless times, she quickly pulled the cap from his head and began to giggle uncontrollably. The wolf was perplexed…how is it that his disguise didn’t work? What had went wrong? And better yet, HOW could he ever be close to her without this disguise? What must she think of him for concocting such a failed plan? Even more so, the idea of himself lying there in an uncomfortably confining, hot gown that reeked of old lady didn’t do his masculinity and bad boy reputation any favors, so he was certain that he had lost any chance of either wooing her or scaring her into spending time with him.
But the wolf was mistaken about all of this. All except the stale stench of old lady sweat, that is. (Red Riding Hood could have done without that), but still, seeing this rather glorious hairy beast-man under the blanket in Grandma’s precious gown made her feel less intimidated by his debonair presence than she had been earlier in the day, and the sight expressed a gentleness about him that was surprisingly charming (Charming being an innocent substitute for immensely arousing) to her.
Upon seeing her giggle uncontrollably, the wolf began to laugh with her, though he did indeed feel quite foolish in the predicament he was in. But that wildly devilish giggle was irresistible to him, and he knew at that moment he would do anything and everything to make her giggle forever and ever… even if it meant making a complete idiot of himself to tickle her fancy.
“I’m sorry about your grandmother, he said, looking quite sheepishly (yes, obvious pun intended), but I wasn’t sure how to handle the situation…As soon as she answered the door, she began to scream and scream, though I insisted I was a friend of yours, so I began to nip at her in hopes of quieting her and before I knew it, I had gobbled her all up! But please know, it wasn’t at all enjoyable- she was waaaay too bitter and much too tough for my taste and I was immediately full of remorse for what I had done” He quickly wondered if the bitter, tough bits were a bit TMI, but there was nothing he could do about it now, was there?
“Really, its OK, she said sweetly. I did love her of course, but she was really getting on anyway, and besides, every day, I was forced to bring her things from Mother, (who was also increasingly becoming a pain in Red’s backside, since she was rapidly becoming a bit of an abusive lush of a boozing tart these days-but that’s beside the point, I suppose), and do her washing, and her demands have been growing and growing over the past few years, so frankly I was fed up to the back teeth with waiting on her hand and foot. And as you can see, she said, looking around at the dusty, somewhat smelly cabin and the reeking pee-pot in the corner, she had become less and less of a home-maker in her old age, so you’ve actually done me a BIG favor. I am quite grateful to you sir”, she said in a slight flirtatious tone, as she pulled the wet hood back from her dripping, dark hair.
Realizing for the first time that she was soaked through and through, the wolf sat up quickly, “You poor thing, you are so wet, you must be uncomfortable and cold. Let’s get you dried and warmed up.” He began to climb out of bed, when he noticed that Red Riding Hood had slipped the wet cape from her shoulders, letting it fall to the floor in a heap, and had then began pulling her black dress over her head, and using it to towel her long, somewhat tangled, wet hair, she let it drop onto the heaped cape and smiled widely at the Wolf. “If its all the same to you, I would prefer to get under that warm blanket. You look awfully cozy in your beautiful, snug gown.” The big, not so bad wolf struggled momentarily to find words, he could do nothing but swallow… hard as his head began to grow dizzy, in a most strangely, delightful sort of way. “But, of course, My Dear Girl, he finally stammered, pulling the cover back obligingly to invite her to climb beside of him. I think that is the most splendid idea I’ve ever heard.”
And for once, Happily Ever After satisfies me greatly.
And to wrap up this somewhat wicked retelling, here’s some photos of a very young me in my favorite t-shirt and an older, much more daring Red Riding Hood for those Big, Big eyes of yours.
And finally, a charming song for those Big, Big ears of yours.
Love…and all that Jazz,