Once upon a time there was a maiden who lived in a village far inside the deep woods. She was very beautiful, with hair black as a raven’s wing and lips red as cherries. For a midwinter gift her Grandmother had made her a cloak of softest lambs’ wool, red as roses, red as the blood of slaughtered rabbits.
Her mother tied the cloak around her shoulders one cold winter morning and told her to take a basket of food to her Grandmother’s house, deep into the forest, as her Grandmother was very old and could not fend well for herself in the ice and snow. The maiden, who was a good and dutiful girl, did as she was told and set off into the frosty woods.
“Don’t stray from the path!” her mother called from the door of the cottage. “There are wolves in the deep forest!”
Now the girl, who had been a good and dutiful girl all her life, was tired of always obeying, tired of being the one to tramp through the bloody cold woods and take heavy baskets of food to her cranky old Grandmother, who knew the girl didn’t wear anything but black. She stamped her feet and muttered to herself as she walked down the path. She got tired after a few miles and decided to step off the path into a small clearing under the trees, and sample some of the goodies in the heavy basket.
No sooner had she sat down on the red cloak and started to nibble on a cake, she heard a fearsome rustling from the thick trees surrounding her. A huge black wolf with eyes of gold sprang out from behind an oak, and stood looking at her.
The girl sat transfixed with fear at first, but then relaxed somewhat when she saw the wolf was evidently not going to eat her immediately.
“What do you want, O Wolf?” she asked. (This was, after all, a magical wood, and talking animals were not entirely unheard of.)
The Wolf, thinking that this was an incredibly naive young girl, stood mulling over possible retorts. He decided not to be crude, and replied “Merely to share your company, beautiful Maiden, and perhaps a bit of your wonderful picnic.”
So they sat together and ate the food from Grandmother’s basket, and the girl became entranced by the Wolf’s charisma and charm, by his beautiful golden eyes and his big, er, muscles. And she began to think to herself that she liked being a part of the deep, wild wood with the Wolf, and that her Grandmother, who was a sanctimonious old prune, would never allow her to continue this entirely unsuitable relationship. She would tattle to the girl’s mother and father, and the girl would be married off immediately to Jared the baker’s son, who had pimples and one eye that wandered.
“Let us run away together, deep into the woods,” she cried impulsively to the Wolf, who was no one’s fool and not about to turn down a sweet young piece of…girl like this, especially one with as few morals as this one obviously had.
“You shall be my bride,” he said, taking her into his arms and licking her neck. “Let us go on to our bridal feast!”
And so the happy couple went on to the Grandmother’s cottage, and when the sour old lady opened the door they fell upon her, slaughtered her, and ate her.
There are still wanted posters featuring a poor drawing of the Little Red Riding Hood posted in the Village Post Office. Her mother tells everyone that the girl was led astray by a bad element from the rough side of the wood, but the girl, and her Wolf, know that:
Girls just want to have fun.