This is the story of little red riding hood. But everyone has heard the story of little red riding hood, so this is a little different. Listen my children and you shall hear...

It was a bright summer day in Deutschland, (of course it’s Deutschland. You didn’t think animals talked in England, did you?) and Little Red Riding Hood (her real name was Gilda, so that’s what I will call her) was playing happily out in the yard, thinking on occasion that she could be playing so much more happily if her friend Goldilocks weren’t over at the three bears’ this afternoon. But since she had spent the previous day wandering the woods and eating a trail of marvelously delicious breadcrumbs, Gilda didn’t let the thought trouble her. But Goldilocks wasn’t there, so Gilda’s mother felt justified in interrupting Gilda’s dolls’ excursion to Valhalla (which, conveniently resided at the top of a large oak tree).

“Gil-da!” her mother shouted, her hands floury from the pies and bread she had been making.

“yah?” came the unsuspecting voice from three-quarters of the way to Valhalla, where the Achen family had just narrowly escaped from one of Loki’s deadly mistletoe arrows.

“Gilda, take this basket of fruit and bread to your grandmother, please. She’s been sick so I thought I’d send her a care package.” (Express mail is so expensive, so why not have Gilda send it?)

Grandmother took precedence over the Achen family vacation and Gilda hopped down and happily took the fruit and bread basket, the more so after her mother let her eat one of the apples. She realized that the shortest way would be through the outskirts of the Black Forest, so she couldn’t take her horse (her nickname was Little Red Riding Hood), but any trip merited the red suit, so on she put it and tripped merrily along the path that led to the Black Forest, singing a song (which I can’t translate, because I don’t know German).

Now it so happened Francois, the wolf, one of the recent emigrees fleeing the pursecution of the Hugenots (they would get so hungry, and then they would kill whatever moved), though he himself was an ardent Catholic, hadn’t been able to find any deer for the past couple of days, and he was rather hungry. Gilda was Lutheran, so he didn’t see any problem in making a quick meal here. He stepped out onto the path as Gilda came around a corner, startling her.

“S’cuse me, mademoiselle. I couldn’t help but noticing that you have been carrying some absolutely scrumptious smelling pastries and fruits and I was wondering if I could help ease your load a bit. (You didn’t think he was threatening to eat her did you? What kind of barbarians do you think wolves [especially French ones] are, anyway?) Grandmother’s house is a long way, and I wouldn’t want your arm to fall off between here and there. She’d be so upset, you know.”

Gilda put one of those pouty faces that little girls do so well, crossed her arms tight over the basket and held it to her chest and shook her head.

“P’raps you misunderstood me, eh?” Francois said with those smiling faces that say “I’m not really the nice guy my refined tone suggests.” “I said I’d like to lighten your load a bit. How ‘bout we start with one of those nice pastries there?”

Gilda shook her head again.

“Look, I’ve tried to be nice, but your wearing mah patience pretty thin. Why don’t I say it a bit clearer? Hand over the basket or let’s not say what will happen.”

Gilda became quite frightened, because the wolf had a nasty expression, and since her mother hadn’t told her anything about the wolf being sick, but only Grandmother, she turned around and ran into the woods. Since the wolf really couldn’t bring himself to eat people, Lutheran heretics or no, he just chased her a bit to scare her even more, then left for Grandmother’s place.

By the time he got there he was hungrier than ever and quite upset, since he’d been stewing about this insensitivity of Little Red Riding Hood’s, so Grandmother was in for it. He lost all politeness and burst open the door. Grandmother was quite astonished, but not quite as much as she was when Francois pushed her hastily into the basement, (Grandfather had always been worried about tornadoes, so he had built a nice basement, complete with working kitchen just in case they had to live there. Later, in the days when tornadoes weren’t the reason for kitchens in the basement the house was successfully marketed as having built-in bomb shelter) tied her up and gagged her with the towel that was hanging on the stove.

“I’m going to get zat girl,” he kept muttering angrily as he riffled through Grandmother’s wardrobe. Remembering how well honey worked to imitate a mother goat (Mmm, those had been nice tender kids), he downed the jar of mead that had been sitting for company. It was marvelous honey, so he had a few more jars, then crawled into Grandmother’s bed.

After about an hour’s nap, Grandfather walked in the door and was justifiably displeased to see Francois sleeping in the bed with Grandmother’s nightgown, and was laying it into him with the broom that Grandmother had dropped. Francois was a bit drunk from all that mead and wash beginning to have a headache, only partly from the broom, and Grandfather wash being mightily inhoshpitable, sho lurching out of the bed, he picked Grandfather up, hitting hish head not so comfortably on the sheiling and plopped him down on the other side of the basement from Grandmother, tied him up tightly, and gagged him. It wasn’t nearly as neat of a job as he had done with Grandmother. Then he had another couple of jars of mead, just in case the nap had worn the sweetening power of the old ones out of his voice. Then he went back to bed.

Gilda arrived about an hour later, rather surprised to see the door open and clothes all over the place (Francois wasn’t as coordinated with Grandmother’s wardrobe or catching Grandfather as I have made it sound). She peered over the top of Grandmother’s bed (she wasn’t very tall yet). Though Grandmother was sleeping soundly and Gilda didn’t want to wake her, she was supposed to give the basket and fruit (minus a pastry that Francois had grabbed before Gilda managed to get away) to Grandmother.

“Grandmother, wake up! Wake up!”

Grandmother slowly opened her eyes, wondering what wash going on.

“Wow! You ought to see a doctor for some medicine for that jaundice! What big eyes you have!”

“All the better to shee you wish, my dear!”

“Grandmother, you really need to stop lying to Grandfather about the job he’s been doing with weeding the garden—you’re nose is as long as Pinocchio’s!”

“All the better to schmell you wish, my dear!”

“My goodness! What a big mouth and teeth you have! Grandmother, I know vampires don’t exist, so those can’t be your teeth. I think you’re the big, bad wolf that accosted me in the forest, and if you don’t hie thee hence immediately and vacate the premesis sooner, my daddy’s going to rain down so many lawsuits on your head that you’ll drown in a mountain of paperwork, not to mention lawyers’ fees and life sentences!”

For some reason, Francois didn’t take this well.

“Look here missh! I’ve been dreaming of a wonderful way of shcaring you for the pasht hour, and by King Louie, you’d better start over and let me say it or I’ll huff and puff and blow this entire house in.”

Gilda was quite peeved and was going to do nothing of the kind.

“Listen you bad wolf! You’ve eaten my Grandmother and probably Grandfather, and how am I supposed to give this bread and fruit to Grandmother if she’s in your innards?” Gilda vaulted onto the bed and started jumping up and down on the wolf’s stomach in an attempt to dislodge Grandmother and Grandfather.

About this time Grandfather, who, being a Boy Scout, was always prepared, had been carrying his Swiss Army knife, cut his ropes and Grandmothers and marched upstairs. He laid into Francois again, only this time swearing loudly how he would sue him till the cows came home. Francois, not having been able to say his prepared lines, and quite upset from Gilda’s bouncing on his stomach, shook her off and began huffing and puffing up a storm. Quite a wind ensued and everyone became entangled in miscellaneous shirts, knick-knacks, pieces of glass from the windows, and Grandmother had a sneezing fit from the dust, when in walked the third little pig, dressed up in black suit and bowler, and carrying a bowler, just like a lawyer should.

He had been searching for Francois for quite some time, seeking revenge for the death of his two brothers, both in and out of the court of law.

“Alright wolf! I know you’re in there, what with all that huffing and puffing, and if you don’t stop what you’re doing pronto and immediately, and obey this writ of habeas corpus and court summons I hold in my hand, I shall personally take revenge for the death of my two brothers with this stick (pounding a large oaken staff on the floor) and my martial arts training and clean your plow.”

Francois, couldn’t quite understand what he was saying over the howling hurricane wind that he’d blown up, and was still sore over being boiled by the third little pig, and would’ve thought that he had just been bluffing about the martial arts if he had heard, keep at the fight, bashing Grandfather good as Gilda poked him soundly whenever the wind went the right direction for her broom.

“Ok, then, since you show no signs of being amenable to the rule of the Holy Roman Empirial courts, I shall beat you up and then take you to court.”

He dashed into the wind and immediately started pounding Francois to within a foot of his life (an inch would be too much to let him testify in court), who quite astonished, stopped huffing and puffing (not that he would’ve been able to continue for long), and started trying to get away from this new menace. The little pig was much more skilled and soon Francois was unconcious on the floor.

Raising his hat, the little pig addressed Grandmother, Grandfather, and Gilda.

“Sorry to have disturbed you folks,” and dragged Francois away towards the court.

Grandmother (who had quite recovered from her illness) and Grandfather thanked Gilda for bringing them the bread and fruit (minus the purloined pastry), apologized for the rude reception and the incredibly shocking state of the house and invited Gilda to dinner. Afterwards Grandfather drove Gilda home in his buggy, and soon repaired his house.

Gilda was none the worse for the experiment, and went tripping happily along to the three bears’ house, in response to an invitation delivered by Goldilocks as she came home the night before. The Achen family had to wait another week to visit Valhalla.