ONCE upon a time there was a dear little girl who was loved by every
one who looked at her, but most of all by her grandmother, and there was
nothing that she would not have given to the child. Once she gave her a
little cap of red velvet, which suited her so well that she would never
wear anything else; so she was always called "Little Red-Cap."
One day her mother said to her, "Come, Little Red-Cap, here is a piece
of cake and a bottle of wine; take them to your grandmother, she is
ill and weak, and they will do her good. Set out before it gets hot,
and when you are going, walk nicely and quietly and do not run off the
path, or you may fall and break the bottle, and then your grandmother
will get nothing; and when you go into her room, don't forget to say,
'Good-morning,' and don't peep into every corner before you do it."
"I will take great care," said Little Red-Cap to her mother, and gave
her hand on it.
The grandmother lived out in the wood, half a league
 from the village,
and just as Little Red-Cap entered the wood, a wolf met her. Red-Cap did
not know what a wicked creature he was, and was not at all afraid of him.
"Good-day, Little Red-Cap," said he.
"Thank you kindly, wolf."
"Whither away so early, Little Red-Cap?"
"To my grandmother's."
"What have you got in your apron?"
"Cake and wine; yesterday was baking-day, so poor sick grandmother is
to have something good, to make her stronger."
"Where does your grandmother live, Little Red-Cap?"
"A good quarter of a league farther on in the wood; her house stands under
the three large oak-trees, the nut-trees are just below; you surely must
know it," replied Little Red-Cap.
The wolf thought to himself, "What a tender young creature! what a nice
plump mouthful—she will be better to eat than the old woman. I must
act craftily, so as to catch both." So he walked for a short time by the
side of Little Red-Cap, and then he said, "See Little Red-Cap, how pretty
the flowers are about here—why do you not look round? I believe, too,
that you do not hear how sweetly the little birds are singing; you walk
gravely along as if you were going to school, while everything else out
here in the wood is merry."
Little Red-Cap raised her eyes, and when she saw the sunbeams dancing here
and there through the trees, and pretty flowers growing everywhere, she
thought, "Suppose I take grandmother a fresh nosegay; that would please
her too. It is so early in the day that I shall still get there in good
time;" and so she ran from the path into the wood to look for flowers. And
whenever she had picked one, she fancied that she saw a still prettier one
farther on, and ran after it, and so got deeper and deeper into the wood.
Meanwhile the wolf ran straight to the grandmother's house and knocked
at the door.
"Who is there?"
"Little Red-Cap," replied the wolf. "She is bringing cake and wine;
open the door."
 "Lift the latch," called out the grandmother, "I am too weak, and cannot
The wolf lifted the latch, the door flew open, and without saying a word
he went straight to the grandmother's bed, and devoured her. Then he put
on her clothes, dressed himself in her cap, laid himself in bed and drew
Little Red-Cap, however, had been running about picking flowers, and when
she had gathered so many that she could carry no more, she remembered
her grandmother, and set out on the way to her.
She was surprised to find the cottage-door standing open, and when
she went into the room, she had such a strange feeling that she said
to herself, "Oh dear! how uneasy I feel to-day, and at other times I
like being with grandmother so much." She called out, "Good morning,"
but received no answer; so she went to the bed and drew back the
curtains. There lay her grandmother with her cap pulled far over her face,
and looking very strange.
"Oh! grandmother," she said, "what big ears you have!"
"The better to hear you with, my child," was the reply.
"But, grandmother, what big eyes you have!" she said.
"The better to see you with, my dear."
"But, grandmother, what large hands you have!"
"The better to hug you with."
"Oh! but, grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have!"
"The better to eat you with!"
And scarcely had the wolf said this, than with one bound he was out of
bed and swallowed up Red-Cap.
When the wolf had appeased his appetite, he lay down again in the bed,
fell asleep and began to snore very loud. The huntsman was just passing
the house, and thought to himself, "How the old woman is snoring! I must
just see if she wants anything." So he went into the room, and when he
came to the bed, he saw that the wolf was lying in it. "Do I find thee
here, thou old sinner!" said he. "I have long sought thee!" Then just as
he was going to fire at him, it occurred to him that the wolf might have
 devoured the grandmother, and that she might still be saved, so he did not
fire, but took a pair of scissors, and began to cut open the stomach of
the sleeping wolf. When he had made two snips, he saw the little Red-Cap
shining, and then he made two snips more, and the little girl sprang out,
crying, "Ah, how frightened I have been! How dark it was inside the wolf;"
and after that the aged grandmother came out alive also, but scarcely able
to breathe. Red-Cap, however, quickly fetched great stones with which
they filled the wolf's body, and when he awoke, he wanted to run away,
but the stones were so heavy that he fell down at once, and fell dead.
Then all three were delighted. The huntsman drew off the wolf's skin
and went home with it; the grandmother ate the cake and drank the wine
which Red-Cap had brought, and revived, but Red-Cap thought to herself,
"As long as I live, I will never by myself leave the path, to run into
the wood, when my mother has forbidden me to do so."
* * * * * * *
It is also related that once when Red-Cap was again taking cakes to
the old grandmother, another wolf spoke to her, and tried to entice her
from the path. Red-Cap, however, was on her guard, and went straight
forward on her way, and told her grandmother that she had met the wolf,
and that he had said "good-morning" to her, but with such a wicked look
in his eyes, that if they had not been on the public road she was certain
he would have eaten her up. "Well," said the grandmother, "we will shut
the door, that he may not come in." Soon afterwards the wolf knocked,
and cried, "Open the door, grandmother, I am little Red-Cap, and am
fetching you some cakes." But they did not speak, or open the door, so
the grey-beard stole twice or thrice round the house, and at last jumped
on the roof, intending to wait until Red-Cap went home in the evening,
and then to steal after her and devour her in the darkness. But the
grandmother saw what was in his thoughts. In front of the house was a
great stone trough, so she said to the child, "Take the pail, Red-Cap;
I made some sausages yesterday, so carry the water in which I boiled
them to the trough." Red-Cap carried until the great trough was quite
full. Then the smell of the
 sausages reached the wolf, and he sniffed
and peeped down, and at last stretched out his neck so far that he could
no longer keep his footing and began to slip, and slipped down from the
roof straight into the great trough, and was drowned. But Red-Cap went
joyously home, and never did anything to harm any one.