September 11, 2011

Little Red Riding Hood: The Remake, By Barbara Ng

Bio: Barbara writes, "My name is Barbara Ng. I am 16 years old. A junior in high school. Born and raised in New York City."

Grumble! I looked down at my stomach. 

“Oh, shut it!” I said aloud. I have not eaten for two weeks so my stomach cannot be blamed for being unsettling. You see, I am not a normal wolf, I am a vegetarian wolf. You must be thinking, Hey, that’s impossible. But it is. I grew up with my mother who was a single parent. My father left me when I was a very young wolf cub. My mother knew how difficult it was to raise a growing cub by herself, so she taught me to be respectful to everyone, especially mothers. My mother also taught me to be a vegetarian because she didn’t think it was right for me to eat other people’s children. I grew up eating only veggies, fruits; stuff that grew in the woods that did not involve anything living. But recently, a lot of woodchoppers had cut down a lot of trees and they have stomped on a lot of fruit bushes, eliminating a majority of my food source. I have been trying to find a new place where I could live, but I have not been lucky so far. It has been two weeks and I have not seen anything that is close to being edible. Oh, I was awfully tired. I decided to rest for a little bit under a gigantic tree. I was close to falling asleep when I heard a noise… a girl. The girl was a teen, around 16 years old and she was wearing a red riding hood. She was humming quietly while staring at her reflection in her compact mirror. I know that girl, I thought to myself. That’s Red Riding Hood, the brat of the village where I once lived in for a short period of time.
Grumble! Oh, I am so hungry! I must eat something now or I will die. But what is there to eat? I looked around. Red Riding Hood was the only living thing in this wood. No! I can’t eat her, I thought to myself. But the grumbling from my stomach was convincing me that I had to eat her. What would mother think, I asked myself. Mother’s dead, I answered. This internal battle lasted for another five minutes. No, she’s walking away! Before I could convince myself to stop, I jumped out from under the tree and ran up to the teenager. 
“Good morning, Red Riding Hood. What do you have in that basket?”
“Oh hey, Wolf. Eggs, butter, and cake. I have to bring them to my ill grandmother. But I rather just hang out with my friends. I don’t understand why I have to do it. I have a life, you know.” 
 “Of course you have a life. Where does your grandmother live by the way?”
“Along that path, past the wild rose bushed, then through the gate at the end of the wood. Ughh! Why does she live so far?!” 
“Well, it was nice seeing you again Red Riding Hood.” 
“Yeah, whatever.” 
 I am so hungry. It won’t matter if I eat Red Riding Hood, right? I mean no one would miss her; she’s a total spoiled brat! I raced to her grandmother’s house. When I reached the grandmother’s house, I gently knocked on the front door, which was decorated with fresh and colorful flowers. 
“Who’s there?” called the grandmother.  

“Red Riding Hood,” I replied using a fake high-pitched voice.

“Come right in.”

I quickly got in a sprinting position. One… two… three! I swiftly pushed open the door and tackled the grandmother. Before she could react, I tied her up with rope and covered her mouth with a handkerchief. Using one paw, I opened the closet door, and with the other paw, I shoved the grandmother inside. I quickly locked the door, and changed into the grandmother’s cap and nightgown, which I found in a trunk near the foot of the bed. I quickly crept under the bedclothes and pulled the bedclothes up to my chin.

In a little while, I heard a knock on the door and Red Riding Hood walked in.

“Hey Grandma, I brought you some eggs, butter, and cake,” Red Riding Hood said without breaking the stare she had on the compact mirror.

“Thank you, my dear. Just place the basket near my nightstand.” Red Riding Hood placed the basket on the nightstand and while she did that, she took a look at her grandmother.

“What big ears you have, grandma.”
“All the better to hear you with, my dear.”

“What big eyes you have, grandma.”

“All the better to see you with, my dear.”

“But, grandma, what a big nose you have.”

“All the better to smell with, my dear.”

“But, grandma, what a big mouth you have.”

“All the better to eat you, my dear!” I finally shouted as I sprang at Red Riding Hood and swallowed her whole.

Burppp! My hunger pains were finally satisfied. I wiggled out of the grandmother’s nightgown, took off the cap, grabbed the basket full of desserts, and strolled out the door. I felt guilty eating someone, my mother had taught me better, but I was famished. Besides, it was Red Riding Hood I ate, she was rude, and deserved what she got. But to satisfy my conscience, I made a promise to myself as I walked out of the woods. I will never eat another person again.


Todd A. said...

First, I would like to say, very well done. I really enjoyed reading your version of “Little Red Riding Hood”. You put a young twist on the story, with Little Red Riding Hood being quite sassy to the wolf. I think your remake was both a fun and interesting read. Having to be one of my favorite fairy tales, there are many versions as to how the wolf handles his situation with Riding Hood. For example, in Perrault’s version, Little Red Riding Hood becomes smart enough to realize the Wolf’s antics and she escapes from him.
The story starts off the same (except Riding Hood has a little less sass) and the wolf meets her at a fork in the road. The two take separate paths with the wolf arriving to her granny’s house first. With that said, the evil wolf decides kill her granny instead of keeping her quiet in the closet. Then, when Riding Hood arrives at her granny’s house, the wolf says some rather provocative comments. This is when Riding Hood puts things together and escapes from the wolf!
Perrault’s version is highlighted in Maria Tatar’s book, The Classic Fairy Tales. If you have not read Tatar’s book I would highly suggest picking it up sometime. She has many versions of fairy tales as they were originally written and it is interesting to note the comparison to Disney’s recreation. I enjoyed reading your story.

Anonymous said...

It is really interesting to hear this story from the wolf’s perspective. The wolf being a vegetarian is an interesting twist. His single mother taught him to respect everyone. In the original version of Little Red Riding Hood it seems that the wolf is a planner. He plans the demise of the Grandma and Little Red. He has no internal struggle over what is right and what is wrong. This story has “green” aspect to it. The author describes how the woodcutters cut down the entire forest. The wolf was starving because he had no natural resources to feed in himself. He was so desperate and hungry that on the spur of the moment he decides to eat Little Red. Instead of eating the Grandmother, like the wolf does in the original story, he ties her up and locks her in the closet. Basically, this version of “Little Red Riding Hood” tells one that it is acceptable to kill someone as long as they are not a good or nice person. This version of Little Red Riding Hood demonstrates that when we use all the natural resources, people will turn on one another. This is shown when the vegetarian wolf eats a human because he has run out of resources for food.

Abbey Ward

Anonymous said...

Very interesting! You maintained the storyline but added your own details to it. I really liked that you turned the story around by saying Little Red Riding Hood was a spoiled brat and rude. I have not heard that in any other story. I also liked that you made the Wolf a vegetarian. That is definatley a different approach. You made the Wolf so incredibly desirable for a human being and I could sense the feeling of hunger the Wolf had. The ending was wonderful because he promised he would never eat another person again, but knowing that the Wolf had such a craving for Little Red makes me believe that he will easily be able to eat another person when the craving comes back. Good job though! I really liked this story!

Hannah R.

Unknown said...

This is a fantastic retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” from the wolf’s perspective. The way in which Red is portrayed leaves the reader with little sympathy for the girl. She is annoyed at the fact she has to help her grandmother, would rather hang out with her friends, and is quite rude in her interaction with the wolf. On the other hand, the wolf is simply trying to survive due to deforestation, which is a very clever way of mentioning the axe man, other times referred to as the huntsman, without ever directly introducing the character. One aspect which does not make sense is the fact that Red is bringing food to her grandmother, and the wolf is a vegetarian with an aversion to eating children, but instead of simply stealing the basket from Red, which is full of vegetarian food, and satisfying it’s hunger right then, the wolf still goes through the trouble of racing to grandmother’s house and tricking Red. Even though it does not make sense, and often times fairy tales do not, it allowed for the classic back and forth between the wolf and Red which is so memorable. “Little Red Riding Hood: The Remake” takes modern themes and weaves them into a timeless classic.

-Adam Z.