The following is an annotated version
of the fairy tale. I recommend reading the entire story before
exploring the annotations, especially if you have not read the tale recently.
Since this version is most likely not the one you are most familiar with,
you might also want to read the more popular version by the Grimms at Little Red Cap.
ONCE upon a time there lived in a
certain village a little country girl, the prettiest creature who was
ever seen. Her mother was excessively fond of her; and her grandmother
doted on her still more. This good woman had a little red1 riding hood made for her. It suited the girl so extremely well that everybody
called her Little Red Riding
Little Red Riding Hood set out immediately to go to her
grandmother, who lived in another village.
As she was going through the wood, she met with a wolf,5 who had a very great mind to eat her up, but he dared not, because of
some woodcutters working nearby in the forest. He asked her where she
was going. The poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stay
and talk to a wolf, said to him, "I am going to see my grandmother
and carry her a cake and a little pot of butter from my mother."
"Does she live far off?" said the wolf
"Oh I say," answered Little Red Riding Hood;
"it is beyond that mill you see there, at the first house in the
"Well," said the wolf, "and I'll go and
see her too. I'll go this way and go you that, and we shall see who will
be there first."
The wolf ran as fast as he could, taking the shortest
path, and the little girl took a roundabout way, entertaining herself
by gathering nuts, running after butterflies, and gathering bouquets of
little flowers. It was not long before the wolf arrived at the old woman's
house. He knocked at the door: tap, tap.
"Your grandchild, Little Red Riding Hood," replied
the wolf, counterfeiting her voice; "who has brought you a cake and
a little pot of butter sent you by mother."
The good grandmother, who was in bed, because she was
somewhat ill, cried out, "Pull the bobbin, and the latch will go
The wolf pulled the bobbin, and the door opened, and then
he immediately fell upon the good woman and ate
her up in a moment,6 for it been more than three days since he had
eaten. He then shut the door and got into the grandmother's bed, expecting
Little Red Riding Hood, who came some time afterwards and knocked at the
door: tap, tap.
Little Red Riding Hood, hearing the big voice of the wolf,
was at first afraid; but believing her grandmother had a cold and was
hoarse, answered, "It is your grandchild Little Red Riding Hood,
who has brought you a cake and a little pot of butter mother sends you."
The wolf cried out to her, softening his voice as much
as he could, "Pull the bobbin, and the latch will go up."
Little Red Riding Hood pulled the bobbin, and the door
The wolf, seeing her come in, said to her, hiding himself
under the bedclothes, "Put the cake and the little pot of butter
upon the stool, and come
get into bed with me."7
Little Red Riding Hood took off her clothes and got into
bed. She was greatly amazed to see how her grandmother looked in her nightclothes,
and said to her, "Grandmother,
what big arms you have!"8
"All the better to hug you with, my dear."
"Grandmother, what big legs you have!"
"All the better to run with, my child."
"Grandmother, what big ears you have!"
"All the better to hear with, my child."
"Grandmother, what big eyes you have!"
"All the better to see with, my child."
"Grandmother, what big teeth you have got!"
"All the better to eat you up with."
And, saying these words, this wicked wolf fell upon Little
Red Riding Hood, and ate
her all up.9
Moral: Children, especially attractive, well bred young
ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they
may well provide dinner for a wolf. I say "wolf," but there
are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet,
polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home
and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are
the most dangerous ones of all.