Friday, November 19, 2010


Next Wednesday, Disny’s newest animated fairy tale opens in theatres nationwide. Though it is called Tangled, it is based on this classic tale from the Brothers Grimm, though it has been given a decidely different slant. I just thought that I should bring out my version first, knowing full well that it will suffer by comparison.

No theme seems more prevalent in these tales than the suffering of beautiful women at the hands of jealous, ugly witches. This particular story, however, has an interesting twist, which was explored most expertly by James Lapine and songwriter Stephen Sondheim in their Tony-winning musical Into the Woods. Here the witch keeps Rapunzel not as a trophy, but as a daughter. She truly loves Rapunzel (or as close as she can come to love) and wishes to shield her from the outside world. But her love is selfish, and leads to her eventual destruction, as does all love which is anything less than pure and selfless.

And if you don’t believe that kind of love can exist, you are most definitely reading the wrong blog…heck, you’re probably reading the wrong author.

any, many years ago, back when you weren’t even born, a baker and his wife lived in a little house near the woods. They were not wealthy, but had everything they really needed. Indeed, the Baker’s Wife was expecting a child.

The funny thing about women when they’re in a family way, is that they tend to get unusual cravings. Some mothers-to-be like odd flavors of ice cream or bizarre food combinations like watermelon and chop suey (ew!). But the Baker’s Wife had a different sort of appetite. See, her bedroom window overlooked the most beautiful vegetable garden in the world. She told her husband that she absolutely needed a salad made from that lettuce.

The funny thing about men whose wives are in a family way, is that they tend to do all manner of stupid things to make their brides happy. Ordinarily, of course, the Baker would not dare fetch any vegetables from that garden, because that garden was kept by a wicked old witch with terrible dark powers. But, the flora of the Witch cast a strange spell on the wife, and she refused all food except the Witch’s Lettuce, so the Baker agreed.

That night, when the Witch was sure to be asleep, he climbed over the garden wall and started picking as many heads of lettuce as he could carry. And just when he had all he could carry and was on his way back over the wall he heard a voice from behind him cry out:

“Stop, thief!”

A bolt of power struck him and he fell from the wall. He looked up and saw the Witch standing over him! A horrible, ugly witch with a hump and a clawlike hand which clutched her magic staff.

“How dare you defile my garden!” cried the Witch. “I should turn you into…into…well, something pretty bad, I can tell you!”

“Please, Madame Witch,” pleaded the Baker. “Have mercy!” He had to say this a few times because the witch wasn’t really listening. She was trying to decide what to change him into.

“Mercy?” she said when she finally snapped out of it. “Why should I be merciful to a petty thief?”

“I’m not a thief, honestly. I only wanted your vegetables for my wife. She is with child and has an uncontrollable desire for greens! And, as everyone knows yours are the finest vegetables in all the kingdom…” This was a pretty lame attempt at sucking up and the witch knew it, but she did stay her hand.

The truth is that witches are not necessarily vindictive and merciless. And this one appreciated the Baker’s predicament. If his wife said she wanted the witch’s lettuce, what could a devoted husband do? And, after all, she had plenty of vegetables to spare…but, darn it, that lettuce was her favorite! And she couldn’t let him get away with it!

“All right,” she said when she had reached her decision. “You may take as much as you wish. But listen well! If you want something from me, I demand something from you!”

“But what could a humble Baker own that is of any value to a witch? We have nothing of any great worth!”

“Don’t you? Did you or did you not, just tell me that your wife was going to have a baby?”

In a fit of desperation, the deal was made. And soon thereafter, the Baker’s Wife gave birth to a beautiful daughter. They begged and pleaded, but the Witch would have none of it. A bargain had been made and the Witch intended the Baker to honor it. However, before she left with the child, she made the Baker and his Wife a promise: That she would protect the child from the evils of the world. And with that, the witch vanished into the night with her stolen daughter.

Seventeen years went by, and the little girl (whom the Witch had named “Rapunzel,” being another word for lettuce) had grown into a great beauty. Fair of skin, fair of voice, fair of manner, fair of eyes…and her hair…well, that was the most remarkable thing of all. She had never had it cut, so it grew down to her feet and well past. She had to be careful when she moved, for fear it would snag on something…

Not that she had that much room in which to move. For, you see, the Witch had been as good as her word to the Baker and his Wife, if not better. She had taken tremendous steps to protect Rapunzel from the outside world. She had even built a large tower in the middle of the forest and shut Rapnuzel inside. She was high above the ground and the tower had no doors, or stairs, and only one small window at the very top. The only way the Witch could get in or out was to climb Rapunzel’s hair like a rope! When she wanted to visit, she stood at the base of the tower and sang out:

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair
That I may climb the golden stair!

Every time she heard this, Rapunzel was to lower her hair for the Witch to climb up. Once inside, the Witch would bring food or drink, give Rapunzel lessons or simply talk pleasantly of this and that.

Poor Rapunzel. She longed to see the world with her own eyes. Meet people, have adventures…get a bloody haircut! But the Witch said no. There are dangerous things out in the world, and she would not let Rapunzel get herself into trouble. It looked as if no one would be able to free Rapunzel from her unfortunate predicament…

Nobody, that is, until one day, when Prince Roger was traveling through the forest with his right hand man, Count Basie (an unfortunate coincidence). Roger was an adventurer, and always eager to try new things. He saw the world as a challenge to be faced and fought. Count Basie, for his part, wished that his master would go a little easy sometimes, or at least stop forcing the Poor Count to go with him.

Today they were getting lost. Prince Roger would often get deliberately and hopelessly lost, just to see how fast he could find his way again. In this case, however, he was getting loster than he’d ever lost before. Deeper and deeper into the heart of the forest until, if he took one more step, he’d officially be moving out of the forest.

That sentence makes sense, just think about it for a minute.

“Congratulations,” said Count Basie, sarcastically. “You’ve gotten yourself hopelessly lost in uncharted forest to die miserabley of starvation and/or cold. What are you going to do next?”

“First I’m going to fire my sarcastic companion,” said the Prince. “Don’t worry, Count Basie, this is easy. We’ll be out of here in no time. Just listen for birdsong and that will tell us roughly where we are.”

The men listened, and they did hear a song. But it was not a bird’s song. No bird could sing this beautifully. Birds got into fights over who sounded more like this voice. It was a woman’s voice. The most beautiful voice Prince Roger had ever heard. Without waiting for the Count, he pulled his horse’s reins and sped through the woods after the voice.

It was then that he saw Rapunzel’s Tower. He saw the Witch approaching it and calling out:

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair
That I may climb the golden stair!

And within moments, a beuatiful rope of flaxon hair was lowered and the Witch climbed it and dissapeared within. But this was all Prince Roger needed to hear to know exactly what was happening. The girl, apparently called “Rapunzel” was being held prisoner in this tower by that horrible Witch. He could barely see her through her tiny window as she pulled up her hair, but what he saw was lovely and graceful. And she sang beautifully. This, he reasoned, was enough to rescue her by.

“We should return to the palace,” said Count Basie.

“Yes,” said Roger, not daring to take his eyes away fro Rapunzel. “But tomorrow I will return to this spot, and rescue Rapunzel before that horrible Witch returns.” He said this with great determination, then proceeded to navigate his way out of the woods in less than five minutes.

The next day, Rapunzel was reading a book when she heard a familiar phrase:

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair
That I may climb the golden stair!

Obediently, Rapunzel lowered her hair in the usual way. She started wrapping it around the bedpost about a foot and a half from her scalp and lowered the rest out the window so that the tugging wouldn’t hurt her (you’d be surprised how long it took her to figure that one out). She was shocked, however, when her visitor turned out to be not the Witch, but rather a handsome young man in expensive-looking clothes. Indeed, he looked every bit like a prince from a picture book…which, I guess, he is, in a sense.

“Who are you?” she said.

“My name is Prince Roger,” said the young man, bowing elegantly. “I assure you, I mean you no harm.”

“Why have you come here? How did you find me?”

The Prince explained briefly the events of the previous day and how he simply had to meet the woman who sang so beautifully. He asked Rapunzel how she came to be locked up in this tower, but when he described her captor as a terrible, evil witch, he was surprised when Rapunzel seemed offended.

“Don’t talk about my mother that way!”

“Your…your mother?” said the Prince, incredulously. So, Rapunzel told Roger the whole story. How the only family she ever knew was the Witch, and how in her attempts to take care of her, the old hag had locked her away from the world.

“I know she loves me,” said Rapunzel. “But I wish to see the world with my own eyes.”

“Let me help you,” said Prince Roger. “Let me take you away from all this. I can show you the world.”

“That would be wonderful,” said Rapunzel. “But there are a few problems.”

“Like what?”

“First of all, I barely know you! You cannot expect me to run off with some stranger.”

“A prince?”


“You are right. I will return tomorrow at this same time. And every day until you love me as much as I feel I love you.” With that he bowed again and descended Rapnuzel’s hair.

And, for the next month, every single day at the exact same time, the Prince returned to Rapunzel’s side. They talked on every subject, they played simple games, they fell deeper and deeper in love. Until at last the day came when Rapunzel lowered her eyes and said to her Prince:

“I love you. And I wish for you to take me away from this place.”

“I will. Tomorrow, when I come to see you, I will bring with me a rope ladder. I will climb your hair and we will tie it to the window. Then we will climb down together and take you far away from this terrible tower.” With a kiss, Prince Roger was gone, elated by his newfound love.

The next day, at the usual time, the Witch returned to the tower and called out:

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair
That I may climb the golden stair!

Rapunzel did as she was asked. Moments later, the Witch was in the tower, teaching Rapunzel to play the lute, for some reason. She was having a hard time paying attention, because, sure enough, her mind kept floating back to the handsome prince and his promise of freedom. But, glad though she was to be running away with him, she felt terrible betraying her mother after all these years. She knew she couldn’t just leave without talking to her.

“Mother,” said Rapunzel when she had summoned up all her courage. “You love me, don’t you?”

“My child, of course I love you.”

“Then why do you keep me locked up in this tower?”

“Rapunzel, my precious, it is precisely because I love you that I keep you in this tower. Have you any idea what the outside world is like? There are dangerous, treacherous things out there. Things that a child like yourself must be protected from.”

“I do not feel like a child anymore. I wish to see the world.”

“You may see what you want through your window. You may see the cruelty of men, the savagery of nature, the unfairness of life.”

“Yes, but I want to see them for myself. I want to see the good and the bad of life. I want my own experiences. I want freedom.”

Enough!” yelled the Witch. “You are mine! I will do with you as I wish. And I do not wish for you to see the world.”

“That is not for you to decide. I have made that decision for myself.”

“What do you mean?”

“I have had another visitor. A prince. He loves me, Mother. And I him. This evening he will come for me and set me free. Then I will never see you again as long as I live!”

“This is how you repay me? I have cared for you as my own all your life, and you dare speak to me in this way? I will teach you a lesson you will never forget!” And with that, the Witch took out a large, sharp knife and cut all of Rapunzel’s hair off. Then, using her magic, she took Rapunzel away from the tower and dragged her to a tiny cottage far, far from anywhere and locked her inside. Here Rapunzel wept, knowing that she might never see her beloved Prince again.

Meanwhile, the Prince was on his way back to the tower with the ladder he had promised to bring. Count Basie was along, too because, in those days, when a couple was eloping, the groom chose his best friend to help them make their getaway. He always chose his best, most reliable friend and this led to our modern tradition of having a “best man” at a wedding.

No, really. Look it up.

When he got to the tower, he stood at the base and sang out:

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair
That I may climb the golden stair!

In a moment, the long hair was lowered and the Prince climbed up. But when he got inside he saw not Rapunzel, but the Witch! She had taken all the hair that she had cut off and tied it to the bedpost to fool the Prince. Then, with a wave of her magic staff, the Witch pushed the Prince out of the window where he fell on some thorny bushes, piercing his eyes and blinding him.

Count Basie took his friend back to the palace where the king’s physicians were unable to do a thing to help him. He would be blind for life. When the doctors had left, Prince Roger called his friend close to him.

“Basie, you are more than just a servant, more than a companion. You are my brother. And I need your help now more than ever.”

“Yes, your high—Yes, Roger?”

“Find her.”


“Find her. The witch has hidden her from me, but you must find her.”

“How do you know she did not simply destroy your beloved when she found out about you?”

“Because she loves Rapunzel. She could no more hurt her than I could. You must help me find her again.”

The Count could not refuse and acting on Prince Roger’s orders, he assembled all the king’s guards, all the best hunters and warriors, and anybody else who answered his classified ad. “Somewhere in the wide world,” he said to the assembled throng, “there is a beautiful young girl of about eighteen. Her hair is the color of the first rays of dawn. Her voice is the voice of the angels. Her name is ‘Rapunzel.’ And, provided we can track her down, she will be our prince’s bride.”

The search was on. Good men and true formed search parties that covered the countryside like a vast shadow. And, to their credit they found quite a lot. They found a funny little man who claimed to be able to spin straw into gold, a house made out of gingerbread and candy, a frog who swore blind that he used to be a prince, several talking animals, a very small girl whose best friend was a bird, and a bear of very little brain who…no, sorry, that’s another book.

The point is, they found no sign of Rapunzel. Until one fateful day many, many months later, when Count Basie, almost despairing of ever finishing his mission, tripped over something in the underbrush. At first he thought it was a vine, but it was too stringy and thing and…and…blonde!

It was hair! He followed it like a set of footprints and it led him to a small clearing with an even smaller cottage right in the center. A stream running next to the cottage seemed to stop at the end of the clearing, which was enough to convince Count Basie that it was magic. That’s why they hadn’t been able to find her before now. The witch created this magic glade so that it could not be found. But Rapunzel’s hair must’ve outgrown the spell, for it led the Count right to her door.

To knock on her door, explain the situation and help her up on his horse was, with Basie, the work of a moment…the next part, however, took much longer, when they realied her hair was waaay too long for a horseback ride through the woods and they gave her an impromptu haircut with the Count’s sword. Once that was sorted, they raced back to the palace as fast as they could and Rapunzel was let in to see the prince.

“Rapunzel?” he said. “Is that you?”

“Oh, my beloved!” cried Rapunzel upon seeing his sightless eyes. “What has that horrible witch done to you?”

“It’s all right, Rapunzel. I don’t need my eyes to know how beautiful you are, or to hear your heavenly voice…or to love you.”

This was too much for Rapunzel and she wept. The Prince held her in his arms and dried her tears with his hand. At that moment, his eyes began to itch and he rubbed them with the same hand. And the minute her tears touched his eyes, his sight was restored!

Rapunzel and the prince were married the very next day, and (except for the days when Rapunzel couldn’t do a thing with her hair) they lived very happily ever after.


If You Liked My Story, You Might Enjoy:
  • “Faerie Tale Theatre” (TV) Series host Shelley Duvall is Rapunzel and Jeff Bridges is her prince.
  • Tangled (2010) Go see it during your Thanksgiving break. Mandy Moore is the girl in the tower with magic hair and Zachary Levi (TV’s “Chuck”) is the dashing thief who becomes her unlikely hero.

Next week: A Thanksgiving Special

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Three Little Pigs

The Silly Symphony based on this story is probably the most successful film Walt Disney ever made. At a time when animated shorts ran only a few days, weeks at the most,it ran for months, often times longer than the feature film it was playing with. One theatre owner put fake beards on the pictures of the pigs out front of the theatre to show how long they’d been there! The theme song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” was the studio’s first hit song and it made a weary nation laugh in the face of a Great Depression. So successful was this cartoon, that it spawned three sequels: The Big Bad Wolf, Three Little Wolves and Practical Pig. It was while accepting the Academy Award for this cartoon that Walt referred to the statue as an “Oscar.” Before then, it was just an industry nickname for the award. After that, everyone started calling it the Oscar.

nce upon a time there was an old sow (that’s a lady pig, kids) who had three sons. The oldest boy was named Hank, and he was lazy and loved to eat. The next oldest was Henry, and he was vain and loved to flirt with girl pigs. The youngest was Huey, and he was smart and kind and hard-working and he loved his family very much.
Well, Hank, Henry and Huey lived with their mother for many years. Until finally, they were old enough to go out into the world and make lives for themselves. Hank and Henry resisted, but Huey was enthusiastic. They all set out with a little money they had saved to make their fortunes. Huey suggested they pool their assets and work together, but Hank and Henry wanted to be on their own.

They knew the first thing they would need was someplace to live. And since this is a fairy tale, they couldn’t just find a real estate agent (and, really, why would they want to?), so they had to build their own houses. Hank spent most of his money on food, so by the time he had to buy building material, all he could afford was straw. Henry spent a lot of money on nice clothes to attract girls, so all he could afford were a few bundles of sticks. Huey, however, saved his money diligently, so he was able to buy bricks and mortar.

Hank and Henry built their houses in no time at all and decided to visit their brother to see how he was doing…and to gloat about being so far ahead of him. When they saw that he had only built one wall in the time it took them to build their whole houses, they laughed and teased him. But Huey didn’t care.

“Your houses may have taken less time to build,” he said, “but they won’t last as long. One good windstorm and you’ll both be homeless.” But his brothers ignored his warnings and went out to play in the sun, swim in the lake…and meet girl pigs.

But while they were out in the woods, goofing around and eating, someone was watching them. A pair of eyes that were greedy and hungry. A pair of eyes that longed for a pork dinner. It was a lone wolf who licked his chops at the sight of those plump, juicy pigs. He leapt out of the trees and snarled. Hank and Henry, of course, ran as fast as they could, which wasn’t terribly fast because, let’s face it, they’re pigs. But Hank got to his house fast and locked the door behind him. The Wolf pounded on the straw door with his paw.

“Little pig, little pig!” he said. “Let me come in!”

“Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!” said Hank. This was an old pig adage that had been handed down from pig to pig to pig over many generations. It was, of course, completely lost on the wolf which infuriated him. And if you think it's a stupid expression, ask yourself what the heck a "kit and kaboodle" are.

“Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in!” The Wolf could just as easily have pushed somewhat hard and the house would’ve collapsed just as easily. But, he saw how flimsy the house was and saw an opportunity to get in a cheap joke. So he took a deep breath and blew with all his might. In seconds, the straw house collapsed and Hank was without a home. He ran as fast as he could, wishing he hadn’t had that third liverwurst sandwich, and got to Henry’s house just in time.

And, again, The Wolf knocked on the door.

“Little pigs, little pigs!” he said. “Let me come in!”

“Not by the hair of  our chinny-chin-chins!” said Hank and Henry.

The Wolf groaned at the phrase, still not understanding, but knowing that it probably meant “no.” “Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in!” This time it took two deep breaths, but the house fell down and Hank and Henry were again exposed. Running even faster than as fast as they could they arrived at Huey’s house just as he was putting on the finishing touch: a horseshoe over the door. But when he saw his brothers running toward him with a wolf on their heels, he opened the door quickly and invited them in and, instead of hanging the horseshoe, he decided to put its luck to practical use and threw it at the Wolf.

This time, the Wolf was too angry (and in too much pain) to do the whole “chinny-chin-chin” bit so he just screamed in pain and banged on the door, which was locked tight. “Okay!” he yelled. “You asked for it!” And with a deep breath and two full lungs, he huffed and puffed and snuffed and scruffed and ruffed and whuffed until he’d had enuff.

The house would not blow over.

“See?” said Huey. “I told you my house was sturdier. Now, don’t worry. The wolf can’t get in now. We’re perfectly safe.”

And so it seemed. For the rest of the day, the Wolf tried to find a way in while the pig brothers played backgammon. But the doors and windows were shut and locked. The house was too well built to be knocked down with anything less than a battering ram, and even then it would have to be a pretty big one (plus they might not have been invented yet. “Once Upon a Time” is pretty vague, hard to tell exactly what had and hadn’t been invented. These are just some of the problems you face when you’re in a fairy tale)

Finding himself unable to break in, he thought he would employ some kind of deceit or tickery. He tried an old wolf standby: sheep’s clothing. This does not mean he borrowed a jacket and tie from a sheep, rather it was clothing designed to make him look like a sheep. That’s a common mistake, so don’t feel bad if you were confused. Anyway, he put on his sheep pelt and knocked on the door.

“Who’s there?” asked Huey from inside.

“No one really,” said the Wolf in his meekest voice. “Just a poor little lamb who has lost his way.” (Evidently, the Wolf went to Yale) “Will you let me come in and get warm?”

“If you’re really a poor little lamb, let me see your hands.” Well, the Wolf had forseen this, so before he had knocked on the door, he’d covered his paws in flour so they would like white and fluffy. He put his hand in through the mail slot and the pigs saw that it was white and fluffy, very much like a sheep’s hand would be.

“Well, I guess it is a little lost lamb,” said Hank.

“Let’s let him in!” said Henry.

“No!” said Huey. “It’s not a little lost lamb, it’s the wolf!”

“But it sounds like a lamb,” said Henry.

“And it looks like a lamb,” said Hank.

“Yes,” said Huey. “But what does it smell like?” Pigs are known for having very keen senses of smell and one good whiff was all it took. “Flour! You are the wolf. And you’re not coming in. Not by the hair of my chinny-chin—”

Stop saying that!!” growled the wolf. Now he was really angry and more determined than ever to get inside this house. Then the answer came: the chimney! So, cackling at his own ingenuity, he climbed to the top of the roof…which of course, the pigs heard from inside. It wasn’t long before they figured out what was going on…actually, it wasn’t long before Huey figured it out. Hank and Henry actually did take quite a long time and, in fact, they thought it might be Santa Claus.

Eventually, Huey convinced them it was the Wolf, so they took a big pot and put it in the fireplace. They filled it with water and lit a fire beneath. Soon they had brought it to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, up on the roof, the wolf licked his chops again and slid down the chimney…right into the boiling water!

He yowled and howled and screamed and ran around the room trying to cool himself off. Huey opened the front door and the Big Bad Wolf ran screaming into the woods, never to be seen by any pig again (though there is evidence to indicate that, after being dismissed from his wolf pack in shame, he did make trouble for a little girl in a red cape, but that’s another story).

And that’s how Hank and Henry Pig learned not to cut corners and to take pride in their work. They also learned that not even a big bad wolf can hurt you if you’ve got family by your side.


If You Liked My Story, You Might Enjoy:
  • Three Little Pigs (1933) See introduction
  • “Faerie Tale Theatre” (TV) Starring Billy Crystal, Fred Willard, Doris Roberts and Jeff Goldblum
  • “Muppet Classic Theatre” Old VHS release introducing Miss Piggy’s brothers, Andy and Randy Pig, in this timeless story

Next Week:
"Tang--" I mean, "Rapunzel"

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

Also known as “The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods,” this is another classic story that has been forever immortalized by Walt Disney. Prior to Disney’s immortalization, however, it was immortalized as a ballet by Tchaikowsky. It was this ballet and not the original story that Walt and his team used to bring the story to the screen. George Bruns even adapted the familiar themes of Tchaikowsky’s score as the songs used in the movie.

This story is one of the best examples on record in favor of censoring classing fairy tales. The eraliest known version of the story, which was popular in 1636, is one of the most grizzly and horrific fables ever told. The prince stumbles upon Sleeping Beauty but, rather than just kiss her, he rapes her unconscious body then goes back to his wife. Sleeping Beauty awakens (somehow) and bears the twins the prince left her with. The prince’s wife (somehow) gets wind of these kids and has them killed and made into supper for her husband (even though the cook lets the kids go, the prince is still made to believe that he is eating his own children).

(Incidentally, the book Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things by Charles Panati was a great help in researching these historic facts about the stories on this blog so if you’re interested in learning more about the history of fairy tales, nursery rhymes, zippers, Pepsi, Uncle Sam and the practice of hanging  a horseshoe over your door for good luck, seek out this tome.)

The version of the story that appears here is the same basic plot as Tchaikowsky and Disney used, with one or two touches of my own, usually employed when I couldn’t remember the story very well. To which I’m sure my reader(s) will say “But, Templeton, my boy, why didn’t you simply reread the story if you couldn’t remember it?” And my answer to that is, “Yes, that would’ve been a good idea.”

…anyhoo, here’s the story:

nce upon a time there was a great kingdom, the Kingdom of Borealis, which bordered the Fairying Forest. The Forest was the home of the Fairies, who lived together in harmony, in a society not too dissimilar from our own. There were houses and schools and families just like in our world. And, as in all societies, there was government. In this case, a council of Seven Wise Fairies. The Red Fairy, the Gold Fairy, the Blue Fairy, the Silver Fairy, the White Fairy, the Green Fairy and the Black Fairy. Each possessed a different type of power and together they kept peace and prosperity in the forest.

Now, some years prior to the events of this story, a decision was reached regarding the human population of Borealis. It was decided that since we humans have no magic, it was the responsibility of the Forest Fairies to watch over them. A vote was called for and the motion to make Borealis an official Protectorate of the Fairy Government passed six votes to one.

And so, for many centuries, both kingdoms got along very well and lived in peace and harmony. The King and Queen of Borealis always valued the Fairies’ counsel above all others. So, when the Queen gave birth to her first child, it was only natural that the Council of Fairies be invited to the Christening.

Unfortunately, there was a problem. As a matter of tradition, Fairy guests always ate from gold plates. But one of the gold plates had been damaged some years ago. There were now no longer enough for all seven Fairies. This didn’t bother the King and Queen, because it gave them an excuse to not invite one of the Fairies who no one really liked anyway.

This proved to be a terrible mistake.

On the day of the christening, the child was introduced to the world and given the name of “Aurora,” which means “the dawn.” On this day, she was also betrothed. That is, promised to be married to Prince Philip from a nearby kingdom. Philip, being five years Aurora’s senior, had little interest in her, but did as his father told him.

The party was a terrific success. When the six fairies arrived they each took turns bestowing a gift on the newborn child. Beauty…grace…song…purity of heart…intelligence…and the Blue Fairy was just about to give her gift when a thunderclap was heard. A wind that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere roared through the chamber, blowing out every candle. Billowing black smoke appeared as if from nowhere and when it cleared, there stood the Black Fairy…mad as a whole forest full of hornets’ nests.

“Well!” she said, her voice as cold as ice. “I see we are all having a wonderful time tonight. The food smells delicious. And everyone is so nicely dressed. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it was some sort of party. But, look! Here are the King and Queen! That means it could not be a party. For, you see, any party that the King and Queen would attend would surely be a state function…and in that case…I would’ve been invited!!”

“Please, your grace,” began the King, “let me explain. We wanted to invite you, of course we did. But we only had enough gold plates for six. And since you have declined each and every invitation we have extended, we assumed…”

Silence!” bellowed the Black Fairy. And as she did, a terrible tempest wind blew. “I care little for your puny excuses. And it is not important that I would have declined anyway. You insulted me and for that you must pay!”

“Your grace,” said the Blue Fairy, taking control. “Please be reasonable. The King and Queen meant you no offense. And I am certain that any request you might make of them will happily be granted to make up for this unfortunate incident.”

“Unfortunate incident? Sister Fairy, do I not sit on the same council as yourself? Have I not the same powers as you and our five colleagues? Then why am I so easily cast aside? Why am I so expendable?”

“No one is saying that you are expendable.” Though practically everyone in the room was thinking it.

“Enough! The time for talking is done. I will take my leave of this place and never return.” This made everyone very happy, until the Black Fairy added, “But first…I have something to give the baby!”

Instinctively, the Queen lunged for her child, but it did no good. The Black Fairy waved her arms and spoke a prophecy. “Princess Aurora,” she declared, “will indeed grow up with the gifts that have, this day, been bestowed upon her. And up until her eighteenth birthday, she will be very happy. But before sunset on that day, she will prick her finger on a needle and die!” With these ominous words, the Black Fairy disappeared, cackling as she did so.

The Queen was struck with despair. She held her baby closer to herself as though her love could save her from this fate…and perhaps it could, because just then the Blue Fairy said, “If you please, Your Majesty, I believe I can help.”

“You can? Can you lift this terrible curse?”

“No, I cannot. The Black Fairy’s Dark Magic is too strong. But I can save Aurora’s life.” She took the baby from her mother’s arms and held the tiny princess tenderly. “Little One,” said the Blue Fairy, “on your eighteenth birthday, you will prick your finger on a needle. But it will not be fatal. It will simply put you into a deep, dreamless sleep. During this time you will not age, nor wither, nor die. You will simply wait for Love’s First Kiss. For when your true love’s lips touch yours for the first time, the spell will be broken, you will awaken, and all will be happy forever after.”

The words of the Blue Fairy were of great comfort to the King and Queen. Nonetheless, they decided that it was better not to take chances. A proclamation was made banning the use of all needles or needle-like implements. All the sewing needles, knitting needles, spinning wheels and other tools were taken into the center of the town and burned in a bonfire. But the King and Queen felt that this was not enough. As they were struggling to think of a solution, the Blue Fairy appeared to them with an idea.

That was the last night that Aurora would spend at the castle for many years. Under cover of darkness, the Blue Fairy stole away with the baby in tow. She would care for the child in the Fairying Forest for eighteen years, until it was safe to bring her back to her family. It was a great risk she was taking, as it was forbidden for humans to live in the Forest. They could visit from time to time, and the hunting was well known as the best in the country, but as soon as night fell, all humans had to leave.

But, the Blue Fairy had no choice.

And so it was that, for the next eighteen years, the Blue Fairy raised the child secretly in the Forest. She called the young princess by the name “Rosebud,” just in case the Black Fairy was still trying to find her. For if the evil Fairy found that the Blue Fairy was caring for a human child, princess or no, her rage would be uncontrollable. You see, the Black Fairy had been the only council member who had been opposed to the idea of granting the humans the protection of magic. She felt their lack of magic made them weak, inferior, and therefore undeserving of such protection.

But for eighteen happy years, no one saw or heard from the Black Fairy. Peace reigned throughout the land. Sad though they were to say goodbye, the King and Queen were comforted to know that their daughter was safe and in good hands. And all parties eagerly awaited the girl’s eighteenth birthday, the day when she would return to the castle, reclaim her birthright and live out the rest of her life in happiness and prosperity.

As for Prince Philip, he was fully aware that as soon as the exiled princess was of age, he would have to marry her. But he simply tried to ignore the fact. The way you block out something you are anticipating and dreading, like chores or visiting your unmarried aunt. Not that Prince Philip dreaded the idea of marriage…well, actually, yes, he did. Philip enjoyed his life. Living by his own rules and doing as he pleased. Hunting in the nearby forests, riding through the kingdom, helping his subjects. He knew that a marriage, however nice the girl might be, would throw a monkey wrench into his lifestyle and he did not want it…especially since monkey wrenches hadn’t been invented yet.

Unfortunately, he could ignore his fate no longer. For finally the day came when the princess was to return, and soon he would marry. And not just marry, but marry someone he had met only once, when she was only a few days old, whom he had not seen since. Whom no one had seen since! His father tried to reassure him that this union would be the best thing for both kingdoms. He also reminded his young son that five fairies had bestowed various gifts upon the baby so that she would be a pleasant companion.

“I do not doubt it, father,” bemoaned the Prince. “But I do not like the idea of marrying someone I don’t know against my will. Can’t you understand that?”


Prince Philip had no choice. That morning he woke, dressed and got in a carriage. He rode to the Kingdom of Borealis with a heavy heart. The King and Queen greeted him, but evaded the question when he asked where his fiancĂ©e was. They had managed to keep the curse a secret for some time, and they felt it best not to burden the young prince with the informatio now. For his part, Prince Philip assumed it was a tradition, not seeing the bride before the wedding. He was shown to his quarters and told that he would be married at sundown. This gave him the rest of the day to himself…and he noticed a lush, green forest near the castle when he rode into town…

An hour later, when the steward came to ask if he wanted anything, he found only a note on the pillow which said, “Gone Huntin’.”

The Fairying Forest was a beautiful place. Imagine everything nice about nature rolled together and sprinkled with magic fairy dust. The trees seemed to dance in the wind. The dewdrops sparkled like diamonds. The beams of light which shone through the high branches were as deep and radiant as moonlight.

These were the observations made by Prince Philip as he surveyed the territory. He knew at once that he would do well here. And sure enough he hadn’t been in the forest more than twenty minutes before he saw a beautiful deer. She was standing by a pond, having a drink. Philip ducked down behind a shrubbery and pulled an arrow from his quiver. The deer had no idea he was there. He lay the arrow carefully in the bow…he pulled the string taut…and then…


The Prince jerked and his arrow flew into the forest, narrowly missing a sleepy owl. The deer heard the noise and ran into the trees. Philip was furious. “Now look what you’ve done!” he said as he turned to face whoever had shouted.

Actually all he got out was “Now look wh—” before he saw who had shouted. The most beautiful girl he had ever seen. Dressed like a peasant in a long skirt and laced bodice. A sweeping, curvy figure and a simply enchanting face. Long locks of golden-brown hair fell past her shoulders. Her lips were full and red. And her eyes…my goodness! Her eyes!

“How could you even think of shooting a poor defenseless deer?” she said. Somehow she was even beautiful when she was angry.

“I…I…” was all the Prince could say, he was so taken by her beauty.

“What if she had been a mother? What would you have done for her poor children?”

“I’m sorry,” Philip said at last. “I didn’t mean any harm. I’m a sportsman, you see.”

“A sportsman? Hunting is not a sport, you fool! It is a necessity. You hunt because you have no other means of food or you don’t do it at all. What’s sporting about shooting an animal for fun?”

“It takes skill, patience and strength to be a good hunter. That’s what I call a sport.” The girl simply turned and walked away but Philip caught up with her. “Wait, wait,” he said. “I think we got off on the wrong foot. My name is Philip. What’s yours?”

“Rosebud,” said Rosebud, noticing for the first time what lovely, dark eyes Philip had. “And maybe I was a little harsh. You aren’t from around here, are you?”

“Why no. I’m in town for…for a wedding.” He neglected to mention whose wedding.

“That’s nice…are you hungry? I live not far from here.”

Rosebud led Philip to the cottage the Blue Fairy had made for her. They had lunch together and talked of this and that. And as they talked and learned more about each other, both Rosebud and Philip were falling more and more deeply for each other. It was nearly sundown before Philip finally left, and it was not his decision to do so. The Blue Fairy arrived and chased him away…with a carving knife.

“What are you thinking?” she yelled at Rosebud. “Letting a man in here? Didn’t I tell you how dangerous that was?”

“I like him,” said Rosebud. “He’s very kind and handsome and—”

“I don’t care! I told you no strangers. That is final. Besides, it doesn’t matter if you like him. You are promised to another.”


“Rosebud…I have been keeping this from you for too long. Sit down.” Rosebud sat and the Blue Fairy told her all about her past. How she was born a princess and how the Black Fairy had cursed her on the day of her Christening. How the Blue Fairy had gone to such lengths to protect her. How she had cared for her these last eighteen years and how today, on her birthday, she was to return to the castle and marry the Prince.

Rosebud…excuse me, Aurora, was devastated. As you would probably be too, if you were suddenly asked to change your entire life in a matter of hours, especially on your birthday. She didn’t want to marry some stranger. She didn’t want to live with a King and Queen she didn’t know. She liked her cottage, she didn’t want to leave the Forest. So she did what, again, you would probably do in her shoes:

She ran.

She ran deep into the Fairying Forest. The Blue Fairy tried to catch her, but Aurora was too fast. She ran, her streaming tears blinding her, until she could run no more. Then she simply collapsed to the ground and began to sob. There she stayed for several minutes until she heard an odd voice saying, “Are you all right, child?”

Aurora looked up and saw a withered old crone. An old woman with a wrinkled face and a long Black robe.

“No,” said Aurora. “I’m not all right. Everything I am is a lie. I’m being forced to marry against my will. I—”

“There, there, child,” said the Old Crone. “I will protect you. Come into my house and I will fix you a nice warm pot of tea.” Aurora let the Old Crone lead her into the house. It was a very small hovel. Just a bed, a table, a chair, a small stove and…in the far corner, something Aurora had never seen before.

“What is that?” she asked.

“Just Granny’s old spinning wheel. Have you never seen one, dearie?” Aurora shook her head. “Well, let me show you how it works.” The Old Crone led Aurora to the spinning wheel and sat her down. “Now you just run the thread through here and wrap it around the spindle. Like this…now you try.”

Aurora didn’t know why, but she could not refuse. It was as if the Old Crone was hypnotizing her. She pumped with her foot and guided the thread with her hand, and as she reached up to touch the spindle…

“Ow!” she pricked her finger. She saw a few drops of blood fall. She began to feel sick, woozy. She stumbled back and the Old Crone made no effort to help her. Soon Aurora was unable to fight anymore and gave in to the blackness. She fell back onto the bed, fast asleep.

The Black Fairy threw off her disguise and laughed. Her plan had worked. She stalked out of the cottage, satisfied that she had won. Then she turned to the cottage and cast a magic spell. A thicket of briars sprang up around the cottage, thick and twisted and deadly.

“What have you done?” cried the Blue Fairy, who had finally caught up with Aurora.

“I have won,” said the Black Fairy. “Your Princess sleeps within this cottage and will never wake…unless of course her true love finds her and breaks through this thicket. But, wait. You sent her true love away less than an hour ago!”

“So, you have been spying on me.”

“Of course. It was the only way to ensure that my plan would work. And now, those arrogant humans will get just what they deserve.” The Black Fairy threw back her head and laughed. As she did so, she melted away into mist and vanished. The Blue Fairy was horrified. She had no idea what to do. The first thing she had to do, unfortunately, was to tell the King and Queen what had happened. But, she noticed, she had left her wand in Aurora’s cottage, so back she went…

And when she got there, she was surprised to discover the young man she had thrown out had returned.

“What are you doing back here?” cried the Blue Fairy.

“I’m sorry if my presence offends you, ma’am,” said Philip, politely. “But I cannot stay away. I know it sounds strange but…I love Rosebud. I will do anything to be with her.”


“Yes, anything. Even betray my father.”

“What do you mean?”

“I am supposed to be at the palace right now, marrying the princess. But I won’t. I don’t love Princess Aurora. I love Rosebud, the girl I met in the forest today. And I’d rather live in this hovel with her for a hundred years that spend one moment in the palace with someone I don’t—”

“Wait…you are Prince Philip? Aurora’s betrothed?”

“I am. Or, rather, I was.”

The Blue Fairy could hardly contain her joy. Without another word, she led Philip deep into the forest to the Thicket of Briar.

“Why have you brought me here?” asked Philip.

“Because your true love is inside. You must rescue her.”

Philip needed no more convincing. He drew his broadsword and began hacking and chopping at the thicket. Slowly, gradually, he cut a path through to the door which, of course, had been locked. He broke it down and was inside. There he saw her.

“Rosebud!” he cried.

“No,” said the Blue Fairy. “Her name is Aurora. This is your true love and your betrothed! She will awake when you kiss her.”

And so, after taking a moment to absorb this new information and reflect on how life’s funny if you think about it, Philip stepped slowly toward Princess Aurora. He knelt beside her and looked at her sleeping form. So delicate. So beautiful. He held her limp, lifeless hand in his. Then he leaned in and placed upon her lips one perfect, gentle kiss. In an instant, Aurora blinked her eyes and awoke. She looked into the eyes of her beloved and smiled.

Then she pulled him close and gave him a real kiss!

And so, once again, we have a happy ending. Aurora married Philip (a little later than planned, but not bad) and they lived together for many years. The Blue Fairy was made head of the Fairy Ruling Council, who, using all their combined power, managed to strip the Black Fairy of hers and she was forced to wander the Forest for the rest of her life as one of the weak, inferior humans she despised.

And, except for Aurora always having a little trouble getting out of bed in the mornings, everything was truly happily ever after.


If You Liked My Story, You Might Enjoy:
  • “Faerie Tale Theatre” (TV) Christopher Reeve is the Prince, Bernadette Peters is the Princess
  • Sleeping Beauty (1959) Walt Disney’s lavishly produced, groundbreaking animated feature was the first to be made in Cinemascope and is widely considered one of the most visually stunning of all his films. Features the song “Once Upon a Dream”
  • “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show—Fractured Fairy Tales” The segment called “Sleeping Beautyland” depicted the prince as an entrepreneur who turns the snoozing princess into a theme park. The character was modeled to look like Walt Disney.

Next Week, for Halloween: “The Boy Who Left Home To Learn About The Shivers”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Little Red Riding Hood

This is perhaps one of the most enduring fairy tales of all times. And, like Cinderella, its elements have passed into the basic lexicon of our society. The lesson it teaches is universal: take extra care with strangers.

In most early versions, both Grandmother and Red herself were eaten, but as time wore on, and sympathy for Little Red grew, she was rescued by her father, a huntsman, or, according to playwright James Lapine, a baker. It wasn’t until the Brothers Grimm got their hands on it a hundred and twenty years after the story became popular that Grandma was rescued!

Some versions are more gory than others. I, for example, have omitted the bit where the wolf catches Grandma’s blood in bottles and tricks Red into drinking them! Think about little things like that before you scold people like me and Walt for “cleaning up” fairy tales, okay?

olves are wonderful animals. Beautiful creatures with much to offer. They only eat the weakest sickest member of any given herd so that the herd itself stays strong. They are one of a very few wild animals that mate for life. And, though somewhat chilling, their howl is one of nature’s most beautiful and haunting sounds. Unfortunately, there is an old saying that goes, “one bad apple will spoil the bushel.” And the same is true of wolves. One or two bad ones have become famous and these remarkable animals have been maligned ever since. This is the story of one such bad apple, a rogue wolf by the name of Treebark. A real villain with a heart of coal.

Once upon a time and long ago, there was a little girl called Red. Now, Red was not her real name, mind you. But that’s what everyone called her because she loved the color red. Red loved red passionately. Her toothbrush was red, her favorite foods were strawberries and apples (red delicious, of course), her favorite comedian was Red Skelton, her favorite singer was Helen Reddy…

Sorry, I got carried away there.

Also, her favorite thing in the whole wide world was a special cape and hood which was of a style that was popular at the time called a “riding hood.” It was bright red and her Grandmother had made it for her, which is why she was always called Little Red Riding Hood…or Red Riding Hood for short…or Red for shorter…or, on occasion, “R” for shortest.

Anyway, Red’s Grandmother lived in a house inconveniently located on the opposite side of Wolf Woods, wherein lived close to a hundred wolves. But Red wasn’t afraid when she went to visit her grandmother. A clean, well-lit path cut through the forest to allow travel, and the wolves seldom ventured out far enough to interact with their human visitors…usually.

One day, Red’s Grandmother became very ill. In fact, between you and me, there were concerns about whether or not she’d make it through the night. So, Red’s Mother asked her to take a Basket of Goodies through Wolf Woods to Grandmother’s House. Red, whose best friend in the world was her Grandmother, was more than happy to oblige, and left as soon as she got back from school. Now, Red had made this trip before on numerous occasions. And she had always promised her mother that she would stay on the path and not wander into the woods. For, friendly though the people were with the wolves, there were other dangers to consider. So Red had no reason to believe that today’s trip would be any different.

What she didn’t know is what was going on deep in the forest at that very moment. The wolves were holding an impromptu tribunal for one of their own.

“Step forward, Treebark of Narria,” said Greybeard, the Chief Wolf. Treebark stepped forward as every eye of every wolf in his pack glared at him in disgust and shame. Treebark felt no remorse. “Treebark of Narria,” Greybeard continued, addressing him by his family name as a matter of protocol, “you stand accused of crimes against the pack. You have behaved not in the interest of your fellow wolves, but only in your own. You have attacked a defenseless animal without provocation. You have failed even to show remorse for your actions. Do you deny these charges?”

“No,” said Treebark. And in that one syllable he succeeded in displaying his utter contempt for all things wolfish.

“Have you anything to say in your defense before this council passes sentence?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact I do,” said Treebark. “You’re weak! All of you! We are strong, fierce creatures. With the right motivation we could rule this forest and beyond. We could act with total impunity. But, no. We have to be civilized. Hold trials and call each other by our family names. Well, go ahead and pass your little sentence. The worst you can do is kick me out of the pack, and I wouldn’t stay if you begged me!”

Greybeard did indeed banish Treebark from the pack. He left smiling. The other wolves became worried at what he might do, but only briefly before getting on with their lives. Never dreaming that, while his name would never be spoken among their number again, his actions would live in infamy…

When Treebark left the tribunal, he picked a direction and walked aimlessly. He muttered and mumbled to himself, cussing out the other wolves as he did so. He didn’t know where he was going, but he knew he was hungry. And there was a certain kind of animal he’d always been eager to try. As he came upon the path, he saw one such animal walking along happily. Seeing his opportunity, Treebark leapt out at the animal and said, “Hello, little girl.”

“Hello, Mr. Wolf,” said Little Red Riding Hood, politely.

“Where are you off to on this fine day?” Treebark was being exactly as charming as it’s possible to be when you are a sinister, bloodthirsty monster.

“I’m off to visit my Grandmother on the other side of the wood. She isn’t feeling well.”

“I am sorry to hear that. But, look, if you continue on the path it will take you another half an hour, maybe longer, to get there. I can show you a shortcut through the woods.”

“No. Sorry, Mr. Wolf, but I promised my mother I would stay to the path. Goodbye, Mr. Wolf!” Before Treebark could think of anything else to say, Red skipped away down the path. He was angry at himself, but then an idea struck. He had at least half an hour to run through the woods, beating Red Riding Hood to her Grandmother’s House. Once there, he could devour Granny and set a trap for Red herself. A two course meal!

Treebark licked his chops with glee and bounded into the woods, moving as fast as he could. In the process, he knocked a bird’s nest out of the tree it was nestled in. The bird who belonged to it was furious as she now had to build the whole thing from scratch, which meant waiting another day to lay her eggs. She shouted after Treebark but the wolf didn’t listen. It’s doubtful if he even heard. He had only one thought on his mind: Lunch!

When he arrived at Grandmother’s House, Treebark knew he’d need a plan to get inside. He thought of one quickly and knocked on the door. The thin, feeble voice of a usually vibrant old woman, pinned down with illness, came from within. “Who is it?” she asked.

“Good afternoon, can I interest you in a new set of encyclopedias?” said the wolf, doing his Best Encyclopedia Salesman Voice.

“No, thank you,” said Grandmother. Treebark thought for another moment, then knocked on the door again. “Who is it?” said Grandmother.

“Pizza man,” said the wolf, doing his Best Pizza Delivery Boy Voice.

“I didn’t order a pizza,” said Grandmother, wondering if pizza had even been invented yet. Finally the wolf hit upon the winner. He knocked on the door. “Who is it?”

“Certified letter for…er…Grandmother!” said the wolf, doing his Best Postal Employee Voice.

“Oh, just a moment, I’ll let you in.” Treebark stifled a chuckle as he heard Grandmother undo all seven locks on her front door. When she swung open the door she was shocked to find, not a Postal Employee with a Certified Letter, but rather a huge, slobbering wolf with sharp teeth and claws looming over her. Needless to say, but I will anyway, she screamed and ran away. Treebark was nipping at her heels the whole way, until Grandmother dove into the cellar and locked the door behind her.

Treebark banged on the door with all his might but couldn’t get through. Eventually he remembered Little Red Riding Hood. If she saw the front door open and no sign of Grandmother, she’d get suspicious and probably call the police or something. So, thinking even more quickly than before, Treebark ran into Grandmother’s closet, found a nightgown and cap and a pair of her spectacles. With his cunning disguise in place, he shut the front door, leaving it unlocked, climbed into bed and waited for Red to come.

She did at last and knocked on the door. “Come in,” said the wolf, doing his Best Grandmother Voice (wolves are experts at voices, as well you know, and can imitate practically anybody). Red came in, thinking that Grandmother sounded funny because she was sick, but when she saw the figure lying in the bed, she knew at once that it was the wolf she had met on the road. Of course, she had no reason to suspect anything sinister was going on, so she played along and simply said, “Are you feeling any better, Grandmother?”

Treebark, unaware that Red was onto him, said, in his Granny Voice, “A little, dearie.”

“Grandmother!” said Red with fake shock, “What big eyes you have!”

Treebark again thought quickly and said, “All the better to see how you’ve grown, my dear.”

“Grandmother! What big ears you have!”

“All the better to listen to your sweet voice with.”

“Grandmother! What big arms you have!”

“Come here and give Granny a big hug, dearie.”

“And, Grandmother, what a big mouth you have!”

“All the better to eat you with, my dear!” And with that, Treebark forgot all pretense and dove at Red. Now Little Red Riding Hood knew something was wrong and screamed and ran for her life. The wolf, luckily, tripped on his nightgown, so Red had time to run for the cellar door only to find it locked, but as soon as Grandmother heard Red’s voice yelling, “Help! Help! He’s after me!” she unlocked the door and pulled her grandchild in after her. Treebark pounded on the door, but Grandmother had locked it right away. Now the wolf was furious.

“Fine!” he bellowed when he had grown weary of trying to break down the door. “You can’t stay down there forever. And I’ll be right here waiting for you.” To their horror, Red and Grandmother saw that the wolf was quite right. There was no food or water in the cellar. They were trapped!

But just then, when things looked blackest, a ray of hope fluttered past the window. The little Momma Bird whose nest Treebark had upset had rebuilt and was now prepared to follow the wolf’s trail and give him a piece of her mind. When she arrived at Grandmother’s house and saw what was going on, she was horrified. She hated the thought of that horrible beast eating those innocent people, so she flew off in search of help.

She found it in the form of a Hunter, who was having a very bad day. He hadn’t caught so much as a squirrel, when the little Momma Bird fluttered in front of his face and explained to him what was going on. Eager to help (and to save face in front of his hunter friends by catching something), the Hunter followed the Momma Bird to Grandmother’s House and knocked on the door.

“Who is it!?!?” barked the wolf, forgetting that it was not his own house.

“Er…Mr. Wolf: You may have already won ten million dollars!” said the Hunter, doing his Best Contest Spokesman Voice. Hunters are actually not that great at voices, but the wolf bought it anyway and, eager to win ten milion dollars, abandoned his place in front of the cellar and went to answer the front door…which proved to be the last thing that Treebark ever did.

And so, it looked as though everyone would end up happily ever after. Grandmother got well again and decided to move closer to her family so that Red wouldn’t have to wander through the woods quite so much. The pelt of Treebark brought a handsome price to the Hunter who was forever grateful to Little Red Riding Hood and her entire family. And the little Momma Bird has five babies, all of whom grew up into beautiful little birdies.

As for the wolves, they never knew of Treebark’s treachery, but if they did, they wouldn’t have been too worried. No one was likely to take this one incident and blow it out of proportion and condemn all wolves the world over…

But then word got out about the pigs…but that’s another story!


If You Liked My Story, You Might Enjoy:
  • The Big Bad Wolf (1934) Walt Disney’s sequel to Three Little Pigs featuring Red Riding Hood and Grandma
  • Little Red Riding Rabbit (1944) Bugs Bunny cartoon in which Red is brinigng a rabbit to grandma instead of “goodies”
  • “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show”/”Fractured Fairy Tales”: Riding Hoods Annonymous. In which the Wolf is in a self-help program to kick the Riding Hood habit and joins the PTA
  • “The 10th Kingdom” (TV) Scott Cohen as “Wolf” plays the grandmother trick on Kimberly Williams
  • “Faerie Tale Theatre” (TV), Malcolm McDowall as the Wolf, Mary Steenburgen as Granny
  • “Into the Woods” Red and the Wolf sing “Hello, Little Girl” by Stephen Sondheim

NEXT WEEK: "Sleeping Beauty"