Little Red Riding Hood

By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

There was once a sweet little maid, much beloved by everybody, but most of all by her grandmother, who never knew how to make enough of her. Once she sent her a little riding hood of red velvet, and as it was very becoming to her, and she never wore anything else, people called her Little Red Riding Hood.

One day her mother said to her, “Come, Little Red Riding Hood, here are some cakes and a flask of wine for you to take to grandmother; she is weak and ill, and they will do her good. Make haste and start before it grows hot, and walk properly and nicely, and don’t run, or you might fall and break the flask of wine, and there would be none left for grandmother. And when you go into her room, don’t forget to say good morning, instead of staring about you.” “I will be sure to take care,” said Little Red Riding Hood to her mother, and gave her hand upon it.

Little Red Riding Hood's mother giving her some cakes and a flask of wine for you to take to her grandmother

Now the grandmother lived away in the wood, half an hour’s walk from the village; and when Little Red Riding Hood had reached the wood, she met the wolf; but as she did not know what a bad sort of animal he was, she did not feel frightened.

“Good day, Little Red Riding Hood,” said he. “Thank you kindly, wolf,” answered she. “Where are you going so early, Little Red Riding Hood?” “To my grandmother’s.” “What are you carrying under your apron?” “Cakes and wine; we baked yesterday; and my grandmother is very weak and ill, so they will do her good, and strengthen her.”

“Where does your grandmother live, Little Red Riding Hood?” “A quarter of an hour’s walk from here; her house stands beneath the three oak trees, and you may know it by the hazel bushes,” said Little Red Riding Hood.

Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf talking in the wood

The wolf thought to himself, “That tender young thing would be a delicious morsel, and would taste better than the old one; I must manage somehow to get both of them.”

Then he walked by Little Red Riding Hood a little while, and said, “Little Red Riding Hood, just look at the pretty flowers that are growing all round you; and I don’t think you are listening to the song of the birds; you are posting along just as if you were going to school, and it is so delightful out here in the wood.”

Little Red Riding Hood glanced round her, and when she saw the sunbeams darting here and there through the trees, and lovely flowers everywhere, she thought to herself, “If I were to take a fresh nosegay to my grandmother she would be very pleased, and it is so early in the day that I shall reach her in plenty of time”; and so she ran about in the wood, looking for flowers. And as she picked one she saw a still prettier one a little farther off, and so she went farther and farther into the wood.

Little Red Riding Hood going farther and farther into the wood

But the wolf went straight to the grandmother’s house and knocked at the door. “Who is there?” cried the grandmother. “Little Red Riding Hood,” he answered, “and I have brought you some cake and wine. Please open the door.” “Lift the latch,” cried the grandmother; “I am too feeble to get up.”

So the wolf lifted the latch, and the door flew open, and he fell on the grandmother and ate her up without saying one word. Then he drew on her clothes, put on her cap, lay down in her bed, and drew the curtains.

The Wolf in the Grandmother's house

Little Red Riding Hood was all this time running about among the flowers, and when she had gathered as many as she could hold, she remembered her grandmother, and set off to go to her. She was surprised to find the door standing open, and when she came inside she felt very strange, and thought to herself, “Oh dear, how uncomfortable I feel, and I was so glad this morning to go to my grandmother!”

Little Red Riding Hood knocking on her Grandmother's door

And when she said, “Good morning,” there was no answer. Then she went up to the bed and drew back the curtains; there lay the grandmother with her cap pulled over her eyes, so that she looked very odd.

Little Red Riding Hood draws back the curtain

“O grandmother, what large ears you have!” “The better to hear with.”

“O grandmother, what great eyes you have!” “The better to see with.”

“O grandmother, what large hands you have!” “The better to take hold of you with.”

“But, grandmother, what a terrible large mouth you have!” “The better to devour you!” And no sooner had the wolf said it than he made one bound from the bed, and swallowed up poor Little Red Riding Hood.

Then the wolf, having satisfied his hunger, lay down again in the bed, went to sleep, and began to snore loudly. The huntsman heard him as he was passing by the house, and thought, “How the old woman snores—I had better see if there is anything the matter with her.”

Then he went into the room, and walked up to the bed, and saw the wolf lying there. “At last I find you, you old sinner!” said he; “I have been looking for you a long time.”

From Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
Garden City, N.Y.: International Collectors Library, 1900.

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