Skipping along the path of life, Little Red’s heart was full of joy. She whistled with the birds and inhaled the fragrance of the wildflowers on the way to Grandmother’s house. Her mother had warned her not to dally, but it was such a glorious day she couldn’t help but stop to pick some berries.
As Little Red filled her basket, she lost track of time. It takes time to pick berries and all she thought about was how excited Grandmother would be to enjoy them. As the shadows fell around her, Little Red didn’t notice the wolf watching her from behind a large tree and she had no idea of the tragedy about to befall her.
It was almost dark by the time Little Red skipped up to Grandmother’s door and knocked. A quivery voice called for her to come inside. For just a moment Little Red felt a flutter in her stomach. Something seemed a little different, but she was caught off guard because she trusted grandmother and she was eager to share her surprise.
When she unlatched the door and entered, she was surprised to see Grandmother lying in bed. She had not realized she was unwell. Little Red quickly put the flowers in water and rushed to Grandmother’s side.
“Oh Grandmother, what sad eyes you have!”
This was true, Grandmother’s eyes always twinkled with love toward her but today they seemed hard and cold. A cold chill passed over Little Red’s back as she wondered what had happened to her precious grandmother’s spirit.
Then she noticed that Grandmother seemed to be hiding something.
“Oh Grandmother, how strange your hands look? Why are you wearing gloves? Are you cold?”
“Yes, my darling, I can’t get them warm. Can you get in bed with me to warm me up?”
Little Red was not opposed to snuggling with her grandmother. She thought nothing of it until she pulled back the covers, but at that moment she noticed a slight twitch. She grabbed the corner of the quilt and when she pulled it back she discovered the tail of a wolf and gasped.
The wolf laughed. “I see my surprise is over, now hop into the bed so I can eat you like I ate your grandmother.”
Little Red thought hard for a way to stall.
“They’ll kill you when they find out. Please let me go.”
The wolf laughed fiendishly. “No, my darling, they’ll never know.”
Little Red thought of screaming as loud as she could, but there was no one to hear her.
The wolf laughed again. “Do you really think your voice is strong enough to call for help?”
Desperate to save her life, Little Red looked at Grandmother’s freshly starched sheets and an idea came to her. “I have to pee and it will mess up the sheets. Can I just run to the outhouse first?”
The Wolf laughed in scorn. “You think I am stupid enough to let you out of my sight? Here, let me tie this string to your finger. If you pull too hard, I’ll know you’re trying to escape and I will catch you. This might be fun.”
Little Red did a little dance to act as if she was serious about peeing, so the wolf tied a string to her finger and she headed to the outhouse. As soon as she got out of the wolf’s sight, she untied the string from her finger and slipped it onto the outhouse latch and ran for her life.
This story is based on one of the oldest versions of this tale which dates back centuries. In this most ancient version of Little Red, she didn’t suffer as a victim, nor did she require a prince or woodsman to rescue her–she rescued herself. And you can do the same.