[Abstract and Background: It is difficult to find the original and true story of Little Red Riding Hood. I have therefore resorted to my imagination for certain details to supplement the story that most of us have heard.]

Key words: maternal grandmother, Canis lupis, cookies, bed, toe

Did you know that many children say, “Tell us a story grandpa,” whenever they see their grandpa? Well, today grandpa has a story for you. Remember that in some languages there are different words for “story,” depending on whether it is true or if it is just a legend. Legends are old stories that grandfathers probably told their grandchildren a long time ago.

Although I don’t know the exact history about Little Red Riding Hood, there are a number of things I can I have gathered or deduced from what I have heard. She was small—I know that because she is called “little.” I also read an article in the January 1966 issue of an anthropology magazine about smallness and being little. It said that the average “smallness” between 1925 and 1950 in the Minnesota backwoods, an area much like where Little Red Riding Hood lived, was 4’ 6” (on Saturdays). I also consulted olther experts on “smallness” because there is nothing I hate more that not knowing exactly what I mean when I say something imprecise.

I don’t think she was “red”, unless it was late in the fall and she had been out in the wind and her cheeks had a shine to them. It would be better to think of her as a white Anglo-Saxon. The name Anglo-Saxon is used to refer to people who speak English and came originally—whenever that was—from Europe. I also don’t have information on which country she came from, or if there were even countries when Little Red Riding Hood lived there—if she ever did. We can be sure, however, that she was a female and probably about 15 years old. She was, as I said, quite short or small (at school you might learn that such people are “vertically disadvantaged”). Of course you can be small and weigh a lot too, but I don’t think Little Red (and here I shorten her name) was overweight because she walked through the forest a lot. I am taking it for granted (but I will check it later) that she was under 125 pounds, even with her hood on.

Little Red had a grandmother, actually it was her mother’s mother and not her father’s mother and some books say that at the time Little Red visited her, the old lady was about 65, had a bad cold (remember it was late fall) and was in bed with a hot water bottle. She had been dreaming of cookies and tea and hoping Little Red would come and visit her.

But it was taking a little longer than usual for Little Red to get to grandma’s house because she had met a wolf in the forest. A wolf is one of two carnivorous mammals—I’ll explain those words in a minute. One is the Canis lupus and the other is the Canis rufus (or Canus niger) and they are related and look a lot like dogs, except that they can speak old Anglo Saxon and don’t bark. They have fur and love cookies and tea. A carnivorous animal is one that likes meat, especially Red meat. And a mammal is a kind of animal that sucks the juices right out of kids like Little Red.

Only this wolf was nice and talked sweetly to Little Red, “Where are you going my dear?” So Little Red answered just as sweetly, “I’m going to my maternal grandmother’s house to give her some tea and biscuits.” I should mention that in the British and Australian dialects that biscuit is used instead of cookie. And a dialect is a way of speaking that is not the way you speak.

The wolf was impressed. “Why you sweet little girl—which shows clearly she was small and female—go ahead to your maternal grandmothers with your basket of goodies.” You might have thought she was carrying the things in her backpack, but tea is hot, so she had put a spot of it in a basket. The tea was covered up with a towel to keep it warm, so the towel was also spotted.

Unbeknownst to Little Red, the wolf then took a fast shortcut to grandma’s house, barged in, swatted grandma with his left paw, because this wolf was left-pawed, and then noticed some clothes in the closet. They were the same kind that grandma was already wearing—for she had gotten four sets of the same kind at a sale at Walmart—and he quickly put one set of them on. The wolf then threw the unconscious (that means she couldn’t dream well) grandma under her bed and laid down in it to wait for Little Red.

Soon—and here we can’t be precise, but most old records say it was 23 minutes and 14 seconds later—Little Red arrived, coughed and spit—outside the door. “Is that you dearie?” said the wolf in a high pitched voice that resembled a tornado warning. “Come in dearie and visit your sick old maternal grandmother.”

Little Red went in and, being fairly short sighted, did not see at once that it was the wolf in her grandmother’s clothes. “Oh grannie,” she said, using a familiar term that she had heard her maternal grandfather use five years ago, just three years before he died, “did you get those clothes at Walmart?—I saw that sale too. “Yes, dearie, but they are small for me and itch a lot,” said the wolf in a weak and whining voice. Then Little Red noticed: “what big ears you have,” she said. “All the better to hear mosquitoes at night,” said the wolf in a low pitched growling voice that resembled a member of the Canis lupis group talking to female members of his pack.

“Oh grannie, and what big eyes you have,” said Little Red. “All the better to watch TV evangelists late at night or in the early morning,” said the deceitful wolf. “And grannie, what a big mouth you have and there are many teeth in it,” said Little Red. And at that point (or perhaps slightly later), the wolf jumped out of bed, grabbed Little Red and chewed off a finger.” “Oh grannie,” said Little Red, why don’t you try a toe, they taste much better!” And the wolf, being slightly stupid and yet wanting to please Little Red, bit off a toe. And the toe was so rotten tasting that the wolf got up and ran away into the forest as fast as he could, which was not very fast because he kept throwing up along the way.

Little Red got up, bandaged her finger and toe, pulled her maternal grandma from under the bed, who was still alive and waiting for the cookies and tea, and they both lived happily ever after–especially when they had cookies and tea. The wolf, however, had a bad case of indigestion and diarrhea and had to live in a hole in the ground for the rest of his natural life.

And children, the moral of the story is: NEVER, NEVER talk to a wolf with a hood on because it is a dead giveaway that you have a maternal grandmother that is old, likes cookies and tea and is sick in bed.