One day her mother said to her, "My child, take this pat of butter and bottle of blackberry wine to your grandmother. Do not stay too long, for I shall be worried."
Red Riding Hood was delighted to do her mother's errand, so she put on her scarlet cloak, kissed her mother good-bye, and started off to her grandmother's house. The way led through the woods, but Red Riding Hood was not the least bit afraid, and she went on as happy as a lark.
[PAGE] [PAGE] The birds kept her company and sang their sweetest songs. The squirrels ran up and down the tall trees and made her laugh at their funny antics; and now and then a rabbit would come across her path, and sometimes Red Riding Hood would run after the bunnies, but they always managed to get out of her way.
By and by she grew hungry, and sat down on a flat stone to eat the nice lunch her mother had put up for her, and oh, how good it tasted! It was very lonely in the [PAGE] woods, but Red Riding Hood thought only of the wild flowers, which were so beautiful, and she went out of the path to gather some violets, honeysuckle and sweet ferns, which made a very pretty nosegay, indeed. But, dear me! When she turned to go back to the path she could not find it, and she was scared, for she felt she was surely lost in the woods.
The birds knew that she was lost, and as she had been so good to them two of them flew down and called Red Riding Hood [PAGE] [PAGE] [PAGE] and led her out of the tangle of brushwood into the path again. [SWITCH] While she sat resting for a few moments a wolf came up and spoke to her, which did not seem at all strange to Little Red Riding Hood, as wolves and fairies were quite common in those days.
"Good day," said the wolf; "where are you going by yourself, little girl?"
"I am going to my grandmother's," said Little Red Riding Hood.
"She ought to be proud of such a lovely granddaughter," said the wolf.
[PAGE] Pleased with this compliment Red Riding Hood let the wolf walk by her side, although the birds kept warning her that he was a wicked rogue.
"Where does your grandmother live?" asked the wolf in a sweet voice.
"Just outside the woods. You can see her cottage through the trees," said the little girl.
"Oh, yes," said the wolf, "I think I will call on the dear old lady just for the fun of the thing. Suppose you take the left [PAGE] path while I follow this one to the right, and we will have a little race to see which gets to the cottage first."
Of course the wolf knew he was sure to win the race, for he had chosen the shortest way, but Red Riding Hood suspected nothing. She was so young she did not know that wolves might seem to be mild as sheep, but still be wolves at heart. The wolf took the short road, and [SWITCH] soon came to the grandmother's cottage. He rapped gently on the door, and the old lady, who was in bed, said:
[PAGE] [PAGE] "Is that you, darling? Pull the string and the latch will fly up," thinking it was Red Riding Hood, of course.
The wolf pulled the string and then opened the door and walked in.
"I am very glad you came, dear," said the grandmother, thinking her visitor was Red Riding Hood. "I am more poorly than usual, and it hurts me to turn my head. Take off your hat, dear, and come kiss me."
"That I will do at once!" said the wolf, [PAGE] and with glaring red eyes he sprang on the bed and ate her up. Then he got into the bed and put on granny's nightgown and cap and waited for Red Riding Hood to come.
[SWITCH] At last the wolf heard a little rap at the door, and he called out, as the old lady had done:
"Is that you darling? Pull the string and the latch will fly up." His voice was harsh, but not unlike the grandmother's when she had a cold.
[PAGE] [PAGE] [PAGE] So Red Riding Hood pulled the string and went into the house, set her basket on the table and went up to the bedside.
She was scared at the change that she thought had come over her grandmother. What could be the matter with her to make her look like this? She must have some terrible disease.
[SWITCH] "Why, Granny," she said, as soon as she could speak, "what big eyes you have got."
"The better to see you with, my child," said the wolf, imitating the grandmother's voice.
[PAGE] "O, Granny!" cried the child, "what a great long nose you have got."
"The better to smell with, my child."
"But, Granny, what great big ears you have got."
"The better to hear with, my child."
Red Riding Hood began to be more scared than she had ever been in her life, and her voice trembled when she said:
"O, Granny, what great--big--teeth--you've--got!"
"The better to eat you up!" said the [PAGE] wolf in his own voice, and he was just about putting his long sharp yellow fangs in poor Little Red Riding Hood, when the door was flung open and a number of men armed with axes rushed in and made him let go of his hold, and Red Riding Hood fainted in her father's arms. He was on his way home from work, with some other men, and was just in time to save his dear little daughter.
With one or two strokes of the axe the wolf's head was cut off, so that he would [PAGE] [PAGE] do no more harm in the world, and his body was tied to a pole and carried back in triumph by the foresters.
Friends from far and near came to see Little Red Riding Hood, and she had to tell over and over again just where she met the wolf, how he looked and what he said, until it seemed as if she never got out of the woods at all, not even in her dreams.
When the children were told the story it was always with this word of warning:
"When you are sent on an errand, go [PAGE] right along, and do it as quickly as you can. Do not stop to play on the road or to make friends with strangers, who may turn out to be wolves in sheep's clothes," and they promised to remember, and shuddered whenever they thought of what might have been the fate of dear Little Red Riding Hood.