Little Red-Cap

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Little Red-Cap

[1: The English version of this story, the well-known Little
Red-Riding-Hood, is probably derived more immediately from the French, "Le
Petit Chaperon Rouge," as given by Perrault, where it ends with the death of
the girl.]

     Once upon a time there was a dear little girl who was loved by every one
who looked at her, but most of all by her grandmother, and there was nothing
that she would not have given to the child. Once she gave her a little cap of
red velvet, which suited her so well that she would never wear anything else;
so she was always called "Little Red-Cap."

     One day her mother said to her, "Come, Little Red-Cap, here is a piece
of cake and a bottle of wine; take them to your grandmother, she is ill and
weak, and they will do her good. Set out before it gets hot, and when you are
going walk nicely and quietly and do not run off the path, or you may fall and
break the bottle, and then your grandmother will get nothing; and when you go
into her room, don't forget to say, 'Good-morning,' and don't peep into
every corner before you do it."

     "I will take great care," said Little Red-Cap to her mother, and gave
her hand on it.

     The grandmother lived out in the wood, half a league from the village,
and just as Little Red-Cap entered the wood, a wolf met her. Red-Cap did
not know what a wicked creature he was, and was not at all afraid of him.

     "Good-day, Little Red-Cap," said he.

     "Thank you kindly, Wolf."

     "Whither away so early, Little Red-Cap?"

     "To my grandmother's."

"What have you got in your apron?"

     "Cake and wine; yesterday was baking-day, so poor sick grandmother is
to have something good, to make her stronger."

"Where does your grandmother live, Little Red-Cap?"

     "A good quarter of a league farther on in the wood; her house stands
under the three large oak-trees, the nut-trees are just below; you surely
must know it," replied Little Red-Cap.

     The wolf thought to himself, "What a tender young creature! what a nice
plump mouthful - she will be better to eat than the old woman. I must act
craftily, so as to catch both." So he walked for a short time by the side of
Little Red-Cap, and then he said, "See, Little Red-Cap, how pretty the
flowers are about here - why do you not look round? I believe, too, that you
do not hear how sweetly the little birds are singing; you walk gravely along
as if you were going to school, while everything else out here in the wood is

     Little Red-Cap raised her eyes, and when she saw the sunbeams dancing
here and there through the trees, and pretty flowers growing everywhere, she
thought, "Suppose I take grandmother a fresh nosegay; that would please her
too. It is so early in the day that I shall still get there in good time!" and
so she ran from the path into the wood to look for flowers. And whenever she
had picked one, she fancied that she saw a still prettier one farther on, and
ran after it, and so got deeper and deeper into the wood.

     Meanwhile the wolf ran straight to the grandmother's house and knocked at
the door.

     "Who is there?"

     "Little Red-Cap," replied the wolf. "She is bringing cake and wine;
open the door."

     "Lift the latch," called out the grandmother, "I am too weak, and cannot
get up."

     The wolf lifted the latch, the door flew open, and without saying a word
he went straight to the grandmother's bed, and devoured her. Then he put on
her clothes, dressed himself in her cap, laid himself in bed and drew the

     Little Red-Cap, however had been running about picking flowers, and
when she had gathered so many that she could carry no more, she remembered her
grandmother, and set out on the way to her.

     She was surprised to find the cottage-door standing open, and when she
went into the room, she had such a strange feeling that she said to herself,
"Oh dear! how uneasy I feel to-day, and at other times I like being with
grandmother so much." She called out, "Good morning," but received no answer;
so she went to the bed and drew back the curtains. There lay her grandmother
with her cap pulled far over her face and looking very strange.

     "Oh! grandmother," she said, "what big ears you have!"

     "The better to hear you with, my child," was the reply.

     "But, grandmother, what big eyes you have!" she said.

     "The better to see you with, my dear."

     "But grandmother, what large hands you have!"

     "The better to hug you with."

     "Oh! but, grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have!"

     "The better to eat you with!"

     And scarcely had the wolf said this, than with one bound he was out of
bed and swallowed up Red-Cap.

     When the wolf had appeased his appetite, he lay down again in the bed,
fell asleep, and began to snore very loud. The huntsman was just passing the
house, and thought to himself, "How the old woman is snoring! I must just see
if she wants anything." So he went into the room, and when he came to the bed,
he saw that the wolf was lying in it. "Do I find thee here, thou old sinner!"
said he. "I have long sought thee!" Then just as he was going to fire at him,
it occurred to him that the wolf might have devoured the grandmother, and that
she might still be saved, so he did not fire, but took a pair of scissors, and
began to cut open the stomach of the sleeping wolf. When he had made two
snips, he saw the little Red-Cap shining, and then he made two snips more,
and the little girl sprang out, crying, "Ah, how frightened I have been! How
dark it was inside the wolf;" and after that the aged grandmother came out
alive also, but scarcely able to breathe. Red-Cap, however, quickly fetched
great stones with which they filled the wolf's body, and when he awoke, he
wanted to run away, but the stones were so heavy that he fell down at once,
and fell dead.

     Then all three were delighted. The huntsman drew off the wolf's skin and
went home with it; the grandmother ate the cake and drank the wine which Red -
Cap had brought, and revived, but Red-Cap thought to herself, "As long as I
live, I will never by myself leave the path, to run into the wood, when my
mother has forbidden me to do so."

     It is also related that once when Red-Cap was again taking cakes to the
old grandmother, another wolf spoke to her, and tried to entice her from the
path. Red-Cap was, however, on her guard, and went straight forward on her
way, and told her grandmother that she had met the wolf, and that he had said
"good morning" to her, but with such a wicked look in his eyes, that if they
had not been on the public road she was certain he would have eaten her up.
"Well," said the grandmother, "we will shut the door, that he may not come
in." Soon afterwards the wolf knocked, and cried, "Open the door, grandmother,
I am little Red-Cap, and am fetching you some cakes." But they did not
speak, or open the door, so the grey-beard stole twice or thrice around the
house, and at last jumped on the roof, intending to wait until Red-Cap went
home in the evening, and then to steal after and devour her in the darkness.
But the grandmother saw what was in his thoughts. In front of the house was a
great stone trough, so she said to the child, "Take the pail, Red-Cap; I
made some sausages yesterday, so carry the water in which I boiled them to the
trough." Red-Cap carried until the great trough was quite full. Then the
smell of the sausages reached the wolf, and he sniffed and peeped down, and at
last stretched out his neck so far that he could no longer keep his footing
and began to slip, and slipped down from the roof into the great though, and
was drowned. But Red-Cap went joyously home, and never did anything to harm
any one.