Purple Riding Hood and Ben Wolf
(A Twisted Fairy Tale)
By Atonia Walpole
Graphics and background by Jo from LibrisCrowe
Once upon a time in a village far, far away, lived a beautiful woman and her young daughter.
The woman doted on her daughter and gave her everything she could want. She bought some red velvet fabric and made her a little riding cape and hood. The child loved it so much she asked to be called Little Red Riding Hood.
One day, the beautiful woman filled a basket with cakes, butter, honey, a bottle of wine…well, it was for Grandma, who was feeling poorly.
"Now, dear, stay on the pathway and speak to no one until you reach Grandma's house." The beautiful woman gave her daughter a little push into the dark forest and left for the spa.
Little Red Ridding Hood walked merrily along picking flowers and berries and singing a little song, "Merrily we roll along, roll along, roll along, merrily we roll along…"
Deep in the forest, Ben Wolf was awakened from his afternoon nap. "What is that hideous noise?" Looking out of his wolf window, he saw the little girl skipping along. "A child, a mere child, oh well…" He slicked back his wolf hair and sauntered out to the path.
"Where're you goin' there, little girl?"
"I'm off to Grandma's house to take her some goodies. She's feeling awfully poorly."
"Hmm, what's in the basket?"
"Some cakes and butter, oh, and a bottle of wine."
"What vintage? Oh, supermarket stuff. Well, never mind. You go along now and watch out for wood cutters."
"Wood cutters? What are they?"
"Well, a wood cutter…" he rubbed his bearded chin, "he cuts down the woods and builds houses and puts little girls inside and locks the door."
Little Red Riding Hood's eyes got big. "And they can't get out?"
"Nope, never. They grow old and become Grandmas who are mostly poorly."
Little Red Riding Hood thought a moment, "You mean my Grandma was a little girl that got locked up?"
"I'm sure of it. Is her door always locked when you get there?"
"Yeah, I have to lift the bobbin and the latch comes open."
"See…now what do you think of that? Stay away from woodcutters and you'll be fine." He smiled a wolfly smile.
"Oh, I'm scared now…how will I know if a woodcutter is out here?"
"You'll hear his woodcutter stuff, like saws and axes and things. You can't miss it."
"I'm afraid…wah…haaah…wah….haaah!" she began to wail.
Ben Wolf rolled his eyes. "Well, you've got two choices, honey, either you go back home, or I can walk with you to Grandma's house."
"I don't know. Mama said not to talk to anybody in the woods."
"How old are you, sugar?"
"Oh well…I can't go with you to Grandma's house…nope…no way am I gonna get myself in trouble for a cake and a pot of butter."
"Well, there's a bottle of wine," she offered.
"Nah, you better just go back home. Send somebody a little older next time." He examined his nails. "Of course, I could deliver the basket for you." He cocked a wolf brow.
"Do you know the way?" she asked hopefully.
"Honey, can't you read yet? See the sign over there? Says clearly G R A N D M A'S H O U S E with a big red arrow. Even a woodcutter could find it."
The mention of woodcutters sent a shiver through Little Red Riding Hood. "Well, okay, tell her I'm sorry about the woodcutter."
"Woodcutter?" he tilted his head.
"The one that locked her up," she said, eyes round and frightened.
"Oh yeah, yeah, sure, honey. You run along now." Ben Wolf waited until she was out of sight and took the basket back to his wolf house, ate the cakes, honey and butter and drank the whole bottle of cheap wine.
Later that evening, the beautiful woman came home and found a message on her answering machine: "Where in hell is Little Red? The wine never arrived!"
She touched her recently-manicured nails to her recently-coifed hair. "Little Red Riding Hood…" she called.
Little Red was watching cartoons on TV. "Yeah, Ma, what is it?"
"What happened to the basket for Grandma? You never delivered it."
"The wolf did."
"What wolf? The basket never arrived."
"The wolf in the woods. He said he'd take it," she called over her shoulder.
"Well, he took it all right! It never arrived. I thought I told you not to speak to anybody."
"Whatever," said Little Red, dipping her hand in the goldfish bag for another cheese cracker.
The beautiful woman called her mama> "Ma, sorry about the basket. I'll bring it myself in the morning, Little Red lost it somewhere…yeah, kids today. See ya."
The next morning the beautiful woman prepared another basket, cakes, pot of butter and a bottle of wine. It was windy and cold and she took her purple riding cape off the rack, wrapped it around her and headed out for the forest path.
She couldn't think of a song to sing so she started whistling as she walked.
Ben Wolf rolled off his sofa and opened his eyes. What was that hideous noise? Looking out his wolf window, he saw a tall purple riding hood with a basket. He rubbed his wolf chin. "Hmm…" he grinned a wolf grin, "Now what could this be?" Slicking back his wolf hair, he sauntered out again.
"Hello there, pretty lady. Where ya goin'?"
"I'm going to my ma's house."
"Yeah, all by yourself?"
"Of course. Who are you?"
"Ben Wolf, ma'am, at your service."
"I don't need any service, thank you." She stuck her nose in the air and walked on.
"Now, now, wait a minute…wait just a minute. There are woodcutters out there."
"They're um…not nice woodcutters, if you know what I mean. Pretty lady like you shouldn't be walking alone in the woods." He smiled a wide wolf smile.
"I'm not interested, Mr. Wolf," she said with her nose still in the air.
"I'm only offering an escort…nothing more to be sure." He turned on a hurt wolf look. "Would you be going to…er…Grandma's house?"
"Yes, she's my ma and she's waiting on this bottle of wine. So if you don't mind." She pushed by him and strode off down the path.
Ben Wolf leaned against his mailbox and suddenly an idea struck. "Why yes, of course…!" He loped off to his wolf house and pulled the empty wine bottle from the trash, found the cork, and filled it full of grape juice. He put it in Little Red's basket and covered it with the checkered cloth, then ran out his back door to a short cut he knew through the woods.
Arriving in record-setting time, he knocked on the door.
"Is that you, Little Red?" called the grandma from her bed."Why, yes, it is, Grandma. I've got your wine," he said in a falsetto voice.
"Lift the bobbin and door will unlatch."
Ben Wolf let himself in and walked into the bedroom. "Hello, Grandma," he said in his best baritone.
"Oh, you're not Little Red! Who are you?" she asked, pulling up the quilt.
"I'm Ben Wolf, and you needn't worry about the quilt there, Grandma."
"Oh, ho, ho, ho, but you are a handsome devil!" Grandma batted her eyes.
"I thought we might go on a little picnic. Got the basket right here. What do ya say?"
"I say yes!" and she jumped from the bed and took his handsome wolf arm.
Ben Wolf led her out the back door and into the woods where the woodcutters had just finished a house. "Now, you stay right here, Grandma. Here's your wine. Oh, you forgot your quilt…we might need that," he said with a wolfish grin.
Quickly he locked the door and ran back to Grandma's house, hopping into her bed and tying her bonnet on his head. Soon he heard a tapping on the door.
"Come in," he said in his best Grandma voice.
The beautiful woman let herself in and took off her cape. "Sorry I'm late. Some wolf detained me on the path."
"That's all right, dear. Pour us a glass of wine," Ben Wolf said in a better Grandma voice as he reached behind the bed and drew the shade.
"Here we are, Ma. How are you today?"
"Oh, I'm cold. I'm about to freeze to death here. Why don't you get under the covers with me until I warm up?" Nothing but his green sparkling eyes and bonnet were showing above the quilt.
"I don't think it's cold at all. In fact, it's hot in here." She took her clothes off and slid under the quilt. "My, ma, what hairy legs you have. Don't you shave anymore?"
"Oh, I wouldn't think of it, my dear. Keeps my legs warm," Ben Wolf said, spooning up to the beautiful woman.
"What hairy arms you have, Ma!" said the beautiful woman.
"Better to keep my arms warm," he said, snuggling closer.
The beautiful woman was beginning to wonder and felt behind her. "Well, what's this?" she asked.
"That's where you come in, my dear," he said in his wolfly baritone. "It wants warming"