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Red Riding Hood

by Lydia Very

From The Little Red Riding Hood Project

There was a lonely cabin
Within a dark, old wood,
And in it, with her mother
There dwelt Red Riding Hood
The tall old trees above them
Their winter fire supplied
When Autumn's flaming sunsets
From their red leaves had died.

The rippling brook, their water
From far off mountains brought;
And prattled of their summits
In icy statues wrought.
For them, the squirrels hoarded
Their nuts in hollow trees;
And pounds of sweetest honey
Were made them by the bees;

To gather these together
Was work enough to do;
Little Red Riding Hood thought so,
An so, no doubt, would you.
Blushing beneath her fingers
Looked up the berries red;
The flowers seemed to know her
And listened for her tread.

For she was good and loving
And beautiful as good,
With daily acts of kindness,
Little Red Riding Hood.
Afar off, in the forest,
There lived her grandam old;
And she was poor and needy,
And often sick and cold.

And once a week, her grandchild
Would walk the lonely wood,
And carry little bundles
Of faggots and of food.
One morn the mother started
The maid upon her way,
And said,"now you must carry
To grandmamma to day."

This little pot of butter
I've churned so nice and sweet;
And mind not stop and prattle
With any one you meet!"
Then through the shady forest
The little maiden went;
And though her steps were fleetest,
The day was well nigh spent,

When nearly through her journey,
An old, gaunt Wolf she spied,
Who wagged his tail, and humbly
Came walking by her side,
And said,"my little maiden,
How very fair you are!
You really look quite handsome!
Where do you walk so far?"

Forgetful of her mother,
She stopped and told him where;
Then said the Wolf, so cunning,
"What is it that you bear?"
Forgetful of her mother,
She stood and told him what;
"Tis butter, for my grandma,
Packed nicely in this pot."

Then said the Wolf, "good bye dear;"
Perhaps we'll meet again!"
Then swiftly on he hastened,
Swiftly through dale and glen,
And running reached before her
The cabin grey and old;
Her grandmamma was absent--
He quickly did infold

Himself in cap and night gown,
Then quickly on the bed,
Closely upon the pillow
He laid his grizzly head.
Red Riding Hood soon entered;
"O, grandmamma, see here!
A little pot of butter!"
Where is my grandma dear

"Here," said the Wolf, well feigning,
Her grandma's voice, so weak;
"I'm here, so sick my darling,
That I can scarcely speak!"
"Take off your clothes, my darling,
Upon the bed come lie;
When you are here beside me
I'll be better by and by!"

Red Riding Hood obeyed her
And got upon the bed;
"O grandmamma how altered
You are!" she quickly said
"O what GREAT EYES my grandma!
They never looked so before--"
"That's to see you better my darling,
The larger to see you more!"

"What a GREAT NOSE my grandma
It never looked so before!"
"That's to smell you better, my darling;
The larger to smell you more!"
"And what GREAT HANDS my grandma.
They never looked so before!"
"That's to hold you tight my darling
And to hug you more and more!"

"What a GREAT MOUTH my grandma!
As large as your tin cup!"
"That's to open wide my beauty
And then to eat you up!"
Then he opened his great mouth wider
To eat her like a bird
But at the dreadful moment
A hunter's gun was heard

The Wolf fell dead and bleeding--
Then grandma hastened in--
For she had seen the peril
The danger that had been!
Red Riding Hood wept sadly
And sorrowed more and more,
That she'd disobeyed her mother--
Which she never did before.

And she thought with fear & trembling
Of the death that came so near!
And she said the fright had taught her
To mind her mother dear.
Then listen, all ye children,
And mind your mother's word!
For the great WOLF, men call EVIL
Is prowling round unheard!