Once Upon A Time
"Little Red Riding Hood"
By Lynx Klaw
Once upon a time, there was a young woman who lived in a village with her mother. The girl was a striking beauty and wore a brilliant cloak of scarlet whenever she went out. The village called her Little Red Riding Hood because of this.
Her mother was an herbalist and often saw the daughters of the village stop by on errands for their parents. On these occasions, Red Riding Hood's beauty was striking and she often caught the eyes of the young men and, sometimes, the eyes of the other young women.
One day one of the men of the village told their daughter to retrieve some herbs from the herbalist on the edge of town. The daughter found the woman and retrieved the herbs. Upon leaving the small cottage, she paused upon seeing a girl. It was Red Riding Hood and she was picking flowers in a field near the edge of the forest.
"Hello," said the girl, as she approached Red Riding Hood.
Red Riding Hood smiled a little and replied, "Hello."
"My name is Gretel," said the girl, "and I live with my brother Hansel. We are both sixteen and our parents plan to give us the bakery in two summers."
"The people of the village call me Red Riding Hood. You are only two years younger than I am. I help my mother, the herbalist, and perhaps we may see more of each other when I inherit her shop."
Red Riding Hood picked up a flower from the field and gave it to the girl. Gretel blushed slightly and took the flower. The girls continued to talk and the sun was low in the sky before either noticed how late it had become. They returned from the field hand in hand, but found both Red Riding Hood's mother and Gretel's father waiting for them.
There were harsh words exchanged as the father forbid Gretel to come to the herbalist anymore and demanded the herbalist keep her Red Riding Hood away from Gretel.
Red Riding Hood returned home with her mother, who was very displeased with her "unnatural" and "deviant" behavior. Later that week, after returning from some errands, she saw the Mayor and his son, the hunter. They were leaving the herb shop. When Red Riding Hood came in, she saw that her mother was packing up her goods into a wagon out back.
"What are you doing, Mother?" asked the young woman.
"I am moving to the other side of the forest," said the mother, "for I will be closer to some herbs I need." Red Riding Hood doubted this was the reason for this sudden change, but she remained quiet. Her mother replied, "I am leaving you with your uncle, who shall keep an eye on you while I am there."
Red Riding Hood was greatly saddened. She did not want to leave her mother. Her mother, however, would not allow her to join her in her new home on the other side of the woods. Her mother took her to her uncle, where she left Red Riding Hood.
When her mother was gone, she asked, "Uncle, why is it that I may not be with Mother on the other side of the woods?"
Her uncle was a stern man but fairly so, and he replied, "My sister travels into the forest for her herbs and the forest is a dangerous place. She brought you here so I could keep an eye on you and make sure you are safe."
Little Red Riding Hood's mother, however, had told her uncle that she was deviant and had taken her aside. He produced a chastity corset made of iron. He instructed her to wear it and when she put it on, he informed her of its purpose as he locked it with a key.
He broke the key in the lock and said, "This iron garment can only be removed by a strong man. If you cast aside this foolish and unnatural behavior, maybe a strong, young suitor will release you."
Red Riding Hood was devastated and cried many nights until she had no more tears to cry. One night, as she lay in bed shaking with dry eyes that refused weep anymore, she decided that if she could not remove it, then no man would.
One day, weeks later, Red Riding Hood stood at the edge of the field and watched the sunrise. She sat down in the field and thought of her mother. The girl would be happier with her mother than in a village that did not like her very much. She sighed unhappily and continued to watch the sunrise, unaware of a pair of large eyes that watched her behind a bush in the forest nearby.
"Why is she so sad?" the one behind the bush wondered.
Later that day, Red Riding Hood gathered her meager belongings and decided to go to her mother. Surely, anything is better than staying here, she thought. And so she set upon her travels, passing the field and meadows until she reached the forest. Red Riding Hood entered the forest, oblivious to the eyes watching her. Her mother had told her that the forest was full of dangerous animals and it was easy to become lost, but as long as she stayed on the path, she would be fine, wouldn't she?
After a short while, she came upon a fork in the road with a boulder between them. Either way looked the same, but it was quite hard to tell. She stopped in front of the two roads and was surprised when a graceful wolf jumped out and landed on the rock.
"What is a young woman from the village doing so far into the forest?" she asked, staring at the crimson-cloaked girl.
Red Riding Hood was a little startled when she saw the wolf, but it did not seem to mean any harm. She paused, watching the fair wolf for a moment before she answered her.
"I wish to leave the village and I seek my mother's cottage on the other side of this forest," she said.
The Wolf was curious and asked, "What is your name?"
"The people of the village call me Little Red Riding Hood."
"Well, Little Red, I am the Wolf that lives in this forest," she said, "and I noticed you look a little lost. Do you need help? Who better to give you directions through the forest than the one who calls it home?"
"I do not know which path to take and I would be very grateful if you could."
The Wolf was sly and intrigued by Little Red Riding Hood. The western path was quickest, she knew, and the eastern would lead deep into the forest and take hours to traverse.
"If you want to get there quickly, take the eastern path," the Wolf pointed.
"Thank you, Wolf," said Red Riding Hood, and she disappeared down the eastern path.
As soon as she was out of view, the Wolf ran down the western path to reach the cottage before the girl. Hiding behind a tree, the Mayor's son, the hunter, listened to their conversation. He wanted Red Riding Hood as his future wife. He set upon the western path, following the Wolf. He decided to wait for the girl at the cottage and bring her back to the village. If the Wolf came near, he would use his hunting skills to kill the forest's wild beast.
The Wolf was swift; it quickly arrived at the cottage by using the western path. She saw the herbalist outside, gathering a few herbs behind the home. The Wolf stole inside the cottage and took the bottle of wine. She also took some sleeping herbs and put them into the wine. The Wolf quickly stole back out and waited for the herbalist to go back inside.
When the woman came in to have her lunch, she ate her meal and drank her wine. Afterward, she felt very tired and fell asleep at the table, unable to make it to the bed. Shortly after, the Wolf came back in and dragged the herbalist into the closet. She grabbed one of the gowns and locked the door behind her. Dressed in the mother's clothes, she patiently awaited Red Riding Hood's arrival.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
"Come in," she said softly.
The door swung open and there stood the hunter, looking around grimly.
"Madame," he said, "I am a hunter. There is a wolf lurking about and I know it was headed this way. Have you seen the creature? I intend to hunt it down."
The Wolf stayed calm and replied, "The beast was here not long ago. It left to the north."
"Thank you, good Madame, be safe and farewell," he said, turning to leave. All he needed to do was to wait for Red Riding Hood. Then he would take the girl and bring her back to the village.
The Wolf charged the hunter and attacked him from behind. She struck his head and quickly dragged his unconscious body deep into the forest, far from both eastern and western paths. The hunter woke up later, confused and lost to wandering in the forest for hours. He eventually managed to find his way back to the village, never again to return to the cottage.
The Wolf raced back to the cottage and she entered just minutes before Red Riding Hood arrived. The girl knocked three times and the Wolf gently called to her.
"Who is it?" she said as she sat down in the shadows near the end of the bed.
The girl replied, "It is I, your daughter."
"Do come in, dear daughter," the Wolf crooned sweetly.
Red Riding Hood came in saw her mother sitting on the bed. Why was her mother in bed? And why did she wear a nightgown during the day? The girl thought that this was odd, but decided not to comment.
"I traveled from the village to see you, because I felt unwelcome there," she said, "Uncle was unkind, so I fled to you through the woods."
"You must be tired, daughter, you should rest here on the bed," said the Wolf in easy tones.
Red Riding Hood nodded, "Only a bit, Mother, but I suppose I could take a small nap."
The girl put away her belongings and hung her cloak, then changed into sleeping clothes, ever clad in the iron corset.
"What is that strange thing you wear, daughter?" asked the Wolf.
Little Red Riding Hood was saddened as she recounted her short tale, "Uncle made me wear it. He says that only a suitor strong enough will be able to remove it; and only then may they have my hand. But I will not grant them a try nor shall I give my hand."
She approached the bed, but stopped short with a feeling of worry in her chest. She stared at her mother, just now noticing that she appeared somehow different.
"Mother, your ears are so big," she said.
"Without them," said the Wolf, "I could not hear your sweet voice."
She took a hesitant step forward, peering further into the shadows, "Mother, your eyes are so large."
"Without them I could see your pretty face," said the Wolf.
Red Riding Hood pointed to her mother's hands, "Mother, your nails are so long."
The Wolf smiled and said, "Without them, I could not reach out and hold you."
She became very nervous, staring at the Wolf's smile. She realized something was quite wrong. "Mother, your teeth are so sharp," she said.
The Wolf leapt upon her and threw her to the bed. The girl sat up and watched the Wolf warily, unable to escape.
"You are the Wolf I met in the forest," exclaimed Little Red Riding Hood, and fearfully asked, "What have you done with Mother?"
"I am the Wolf of the forest, Little Red, and your mother sleeps peacefully in there," said the Wolf, pointing to the closet.
The girl asked, "What do you want, Wolf?"
"It is only you I want," said the Wolf, "but I know what you want and this I can give to you."
"Why do you want me and what is it that you think I want?" Red Riding Hood said fearfully.
"I want you for myself, Little Red," she replied, "I can remove your strange, metal garment your Uncle forced you to don, for my wolfen strength is greater than a man."
Red Riding Hood thought well about this, for she dearly wished to be free. But the Wolf had sneaked into her mother's home and drugged her into sleep. She did not seem threatening to the girl, and Red Riding Hood considered the offer. It was very kind of the Wolf and the girl decided to give the Wolf a chance.
"Very well, but please let my mother go."
The Wolf smiled and agreed. She gripped the corset and tore the iron piece asunder. Red Riding Hood unlocked the closet door and pulled her mother to the bed. Afterward, the girl convinced the Wolf to join her in an outing. The Wolf removed the gown and Red Riding Hood put on her clothes and cloak again. They returned shortly before Little Red Riding Hood's mother woke up. The girl's mother was surprised to find the Wolf and her daughter in the cottage. With her daughter's stubbornness and the Wolf's protectiveness, she decided to leave the two be. The mother moved back to her house on the edge of the village, tending to her herb shop. Our story ends here, with the Wolf and Little Red living in the cottage happily ever after. And if the Wolf has eaten Little Red, then she has certainly not complained.
(You didn't honestly think I'd let this story slip without that last line, did you?)
I wrote this story some time after watching a LRRH flash animation on Newgrounds. In the writing of this, I wanted it to come across simple and old-fashioned, as many fairy tales were told to children long ago. I did not add in anything complicated nor did I use large words. If it feels like I have just perverted your childhood, I have accomplished my goals. You're welcome!
In addition, I referred to the Wolf throughout the story as the Wolf, with very few mentions of gender--though there are a few; it is easy to miss the gender of the Wolf completely. At the time of writing it, I implicitly intended this to be a female wolf. I know that that is not immediately apparent and if you're not paying attention, you might not notice it. I suppose this story would work for either gender, but in my mind, the Wolf will always be female. Life's a bitch and so is she. Heh.
I hope you enjoyed my rendition of Little Red Riding Hood. If you'll notice, I did mention Gretel. However, I do not believe I will write a story for Hansel and Gretel. If I do write another story, it will likely be yuri for Beauty and the Beast. Mwahahaa!