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Little Red Riding Hood

Retold by Sybille Sterk

“Off you go,” mum said.
“Do I have to?” Little Red Riding Hood asked.
“Yes. Your Gran isn’t feeling very well. It’ll cheer her up.”
“But there’s something cool on TV!”
“No arguments!” mum told her with a stern face.
Little Red Riding Hood grimaced and got her red hoody. She pulled it over her head and tugged the hood as far over her fringe as it would go.
Mum handed her the basket. “Be careful, there’s a bottle of wine in there.”
“Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, I know, don’t dawdle and don’t talk to strangers.”
“Yes. And be extra careful. I’ve heard rumours that there’s a big bad wolf in the woods.”
Little Red Riding Hood shook her head, “Whatever. I won’t be long or I miss my favourite programme. Nan still hasn’t installed satellite TV.”
Mum blew her a kiss. Little Red Riding Hood made a face and banged the door.
Little Red Riding Hood took the path behind the house and hopped and bounced along. The birds chirped in the trees, dry leaves rustled under her feet, squirrels jumped from branch to branch, and the wine bottle clanged against the biscuit tin in her basket.
“Oops,” Little Red Riding Hood stopped to check the bottle was still okay. It was. “Phew!”
“Ouch!” someone shouted.
Little Red Riding Hood jumped, “Who’s there?”
The bushes next to the path parted and showed a bedraggled wolf.
“You’re the wolf. My mum warned me about you. Don’t come near me or I hit you over the head with the wine bottle.”
“There’s no need for this,” the wolf told her, “I was just making sure there are no strangers bothering you. A little girl, all alone in the woods, you can’t be careful enough!”
Little Red Riding Hood eyed the wolf suspiciously.
“Honestly, I am just looking after you,” the wolf whined.
“Okay, okay. Keep your fur on,” Little Red Riding Hood told him. “Why did you shout earlier?”
“Hurt my paw. Somebody left a can lying around in the bushes.” The wolf showed her his sore paw.
“That’s a nasty cut. You should get that seen to,” Little Red Riding Hood suggested. “Oh well, I’ve got to go. See you around.”
Little Red Riding Hood went on her way again whistling. She could hear the wolf rustling in the bushes, but drawing ahead of her.
After a while she got to a crossing. A brand new sign said “Nan’s Cottage” in wonky letters with an arrow pointing to the left.
“Uh oh, what’s this all about?” Little Red Riding Hood wondered.
The wolf’s head popped up from behind a bush. “Just wanted to make sure you’re not loosing your way.”
“Cool. Thanks.”
“No problem.”
“See you,” Little Red Riding Hood waved and strolled down the left path.
Little Red Riding Hood walked and walked. “Where has that cottage gone?” she wondered. “I don’t remember it being that far.” [...]

Copyright, Sybille Sterk 2002 - 2004
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