Little Red Riding Hood brings wine and cake to her sick grandmother. “Don’t leave the path”, her mother says…
Little Red Riding Hood is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a girl with a red hood. Her mother sends her to grandmother with wine and cake. On the way she meets a wolf and stops to pick flowers. The wolf eats grandmother and later Little Red Riding Hood. A hunter rescues them and they kill the wolf.
Complete text Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood goes to grandmother
Once upon a time there was a dear little girl who was loved by every one who looked at her. Most of all by her grandmother, there was nothing that she would not have given to the child. Once she gave her a little cap of red velvet. It suited her so well that she would never wear anything else. Everybody called her Little Red Riding Hood.
One day her mother said to her, “Here you have 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. Walk nicely and quietly and do not leave the path. You might fall and break the bottle and then your grandmother will get nothing. 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 do all as you said,” Little Red Riding Hood said and gave her hand on it.
Grandmother lived out in the forest, half a league from the village. Just as she entered the forest, she met a wolf. She did not know what a wicked creature he was and was not at all afraid of him.
Little Red Riding Hood talks with the wolf
“Good-day, Little Red Riding Hood,” he said.
“Thank you kindly, wolf.”
“Where are you going so early, Little Red Riding Hood?”
“To my grandmother’s.”
“What have you got in your apron?”
“Cake and wine; yesterday was bakingday, so poor sick grandmother is to have something good, to make her stronger.”
“Where does your grandmother live, Little Red Riding Hood?”
“A good quarter of a league farther on in the forest; her house stands under the three large oak-trees, the nut trees are just below; you surely must know it,” she replied.
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.”
He walked for a short time by her side and then he said, “See how pretty the flowers are about here—why do you not look round? Don’t you hear how sweet 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 full of happiness.”
The wolf eats grandmother
The girl raised her eyes. When she saw the sunbeams dancing here and there through the trees, and pretty flowers growing everywhere, she thought, “Suppose I take grandmother fresh flowers; that would please her too. It is so early in the day that I shall still get there in good time.”
She ran from the path into the forest to look for flowers. Whenever she had picked one, she fancied that she saw a still prettier one farther on, ran after it and so got deeper and deeper into the forest.
Meanwhile the wolf ran straight to the grandmother’s house and knocked at the door.
“Who is there?”
“Little Red Riding Hood,” replied the wolf. “I’m bringing cake and wine; open the door.”
“Lift the latch,” the grandmother called out, “I am too weak and cannot get up.”
The wolf lifted the latch and the door flew open. 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 closed the curtains of the bed.
The wolf eats Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood had been running about picking flowers. 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 door of the cottage standing open. When she went into the room she had such a strange feeling that she said to herself, “Oh dear! how uneasy I feel today. At other times I like being with grandmother so much.”
She called out, “Good morning,” but received no answer. She went to the bed and drew back the curtains. There lay her grandmother with her cap pulled far over her face. She looked 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!”
Immediately after saying this the wolf jumped out of the bed and swallowed up Little Red Riding Hood.
The hunter frees grandmother and Little Red Riding Hood
When the wolf had appeased his appetite, he lay down again in the bed, fell asleep and began to snore very loud. The hunter was just passing the house and thought to himself, “What is the old woman snoring loudly! Let’s see if she needs some help.”
He went into the room. When he came to the bed, he saw that the wolf was lying in it.
“You here, old sinner!” he said. “I have been looking for you a long time!”
Just as he was going to fire at him, it occurred to him that the wolf might have devoured the grandmother. Maybe she could be saved. 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 a little red hood and then he made two snips more. The girl sprang out, crying, “Ah, I was so scared! It was so dark inside the wolf!” After her the aged grandmother came out alive also, but scarcely able to breathe.
Little Red Riding Hood quickly fetched great stones with which they filled the wolf’s body. When he awoke, he wanted to run away, but the stones were so heavy that he fell down dead at once.
All three of them were delighted. The hunter drew off the wolf’s skin and went home with it. The grandmother ate the cake and drank the wine which Little Red Riding Hood had brought and revived.
And Little Red Riding Hood? She thought to herself, “As long as I live, I will never by myself leave the path to run into the forest, when my mother has forbidden me to do so.”
Bonus: Little Red Riding Hood meets another wolf
This is another story the Brothers Grimm included with the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
It is also told that once when Little Red Riding Hood was again taking cakes to her old grandmother, another wolf spoke to her. He tried to make her stray from the path.
She was on her guard. She went straight forward on her way and told her grandmother that she had met the wolf. 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 her grandmother, “we will shut the door, so that he cannot come in.”
They kill the wolf
Soon afterwards the wolf knocked and shouted, “Open the door, grandmother, I am Little Red Riding Hood and I am fetching you some cakes.”
They did not speak or open the door. Greybeard the wolf walked twice or thrice around the house and at last jumped on the roof. He intended to wait until Little Red Riding Hood would go home in the evening and then to steal after her and devour her in the darkness.
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, Little Red Riding Hood; I made some sausages yesterday, so carry the water in which I boiled them to the trough.” She carried the water until the great trough was quite full.
The smell of the sausages reached the wolf. He sniffed, he peeped down and at last he stretched out his neck so far that he could no longer keep his footing. He began to slip and slipped down from the roof straight into the great trough, where he drowned.
Little Red Riding Hood went joyously home and never did anything to harm any one.
Tips for Telling Little Red Riding Hood
- This is perhaps the most well known fairy tale in the western world. How can you tell it in an interesting way when a lot of your listeners already know the story? Maybe you can tell it from the perspective of the wolf? Modernize it? Dive into the old dark versions of this story? Is the wolf secretly a werewolf? Is the girl not so innocent?
- While Little Red Riding Hood is talking with grandmother / wolf, the tension rises. When you are telling this, feel more and more anxious yourself. You don’t need to play scared, if you feel it you will show it.
- The ‘bonus’ story which the Grimms included is not well known, so it could be especially interesting to people. “Do you know what happened the next time she visited grandmother?”
All Questions Answered
The Brothers Grimm included this story in the first edition of their ‘Grimms’ Fairy Tales’. In subsequent editions the story was edited and changed a lot. This story was widely told and they based their versions on written accounts (Perrault) and stories told to them by Jeanette and Maria Hassenpflug,
The Brothers Grimm collected this story and wrote it down in 1812 in their book ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’. However the roots of this story are in the oral tradition. This story was told long before it was written down.
Other names for the story are “Little Red Cap” and “Red Riding Hood”.
Not that we know. However most of the Grimm stories grew out of local legends and traditions that were told and retold.
Be obedient to your mother and stay on the road, otherwise everything will go wrong.
Obey your mother, don’t stray from the ‘normal / right’ path and don’t talk to strange people (they might be wolves).
To bring wine and cake to grandma, who was ill.
More useful information
- “Little Red Riding Hood” on Wikipedia
- Different variants of Little Red Riding Hood by D. L. Ashliman
- Sur La Lune annotated version of Little Red Riding Hood