Sunday, January 20, 2008

The red hood controversy

One of my favorite stories when I was a child was the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Nobody read bedtime stories to me then, so I read all the stories myself. Over and over I would read them until the characters came alive in my mind and I could picture very clearly the little girl's outfit, the leaves that she trod upon as she went to her lola's cottage in the woods, and finally the showdown with the story's villain, the big bad wolf.

When I became an adult I realized that there are several variations to my esteemed picture book version. Here's one that I found to be quite interesting:


Little Red Riding Hood Revisited

by Russell Baker:

In In an effort to make the classics accessible to contemporary readers, I am translating them into the modern American language. Here is the translation of the Little Red Riding Hood:

Once upon a point in time, a small person named Little Red Riding Hood initiated plans for the preparation, delivery, and transportation of foodstuffs to her grandmother, a senior citizen residing at a place of residence in a wooded area of indeterminate dimension.

In the process of implementing this program, her incursion into the area was in mid-transportation process when it attained interface with an alleged perpetrator. This individual, a wolf, made inquiry as to the whereabouts of Little Red Riding Hood’s goal, as well as inferring that he was desirous of ascertaining the contents of Little Red Riding Hood’s foodstuffs basket, and all that.

“It would be inappropriate to lie to me,” the wolf said, displaying his huge jaw capability. Sensing that he was a mass of repressed hostility intertwined with acute alienation, she indicated.

“I see you indicating,” the wolf said, “but what I don’t see is whatever it is you’re indicating at, you dig?”

Little Red Riding Hood indicated more fully, making one thing perfectly clear – to wit, that it was to her grandmother’s residence and with a consignment of foodstuffs that her mission consisted of taking her to and with.

At this point in time the wolf moderated his rhetoric and proceeded to grandmother’s residence. The elderly person was then subjected to the disadvantages of total consumption and transferred to residence in the perpetrator’s stomach.

“That will raise the old woman’s consciousness,” the wolf said to himself. He was not a bad wolf, but only the victim of an oppressive society, a society that not only denied wolf’s rights, but actually boasted of its capacity for keeping the wolf from the door. An interior malaise made itself manifest inside the wolf.

“Is that the national malaise I sense within my digestive tract?” wondered the wolf. “Or is it the old person seeking to retaliate for her consumption by telling wolf jokes to my duodenum?” It was time to make a judgment. The time was now, the hour had struck, the body lupine cried out for decision. The wolf was up to the challenge. He took two stomach powders right away and got into bed.

The wolf had adopted the abdominal distress recovery posture when Little Red Riding Hood achieved his presence.

“Grandmother,” she said, “your ocular implements are of an extraordinary order of magnitude.”

“The purpose of this enlarged viewing capability,” said the wolf, “is to enable your image to register a more precise impression upon my sight systems.”

“In reference to your ears,” said Little Red Riding Hood, “it is noted with the deepest respect that far from being underprivileged, their elongation and enlargement appear to qualify you for unparalleled distinction.”

“I hear you loud and clear, kid,” said the wolf, “but what about these new choppers?”

“If it’s not inappropriate,” said Little Red Riding Hood, it might be observed that with your new miracle masticating products you may even be able to chew taffy again.”

This observation was followed by the adoption of an aggressive posture on the part of the wolf and the assertion that it was also possible for him, due to the high efficiency ratio of his jaw, to consume little persons, plus, as he stated, his firm determination to do so at once without delay and with all due process and propriety, not withstanding the fact that the ingestion of one entire grandmother had already provided twice his daily recommended cholesterol intake.

There ensued flight by Little Red Riding Hood accompanied by pursuit in respect to the wolf and a subsequent intervention on the part of a third party, heretofore unnoted in the record.

Due to the firmness of the intervention, the wolf’s stomach underwent ax-assisted aperture with the result that Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother was enabled to be removed with only minor discomfort.

The wolf’s indigestion was immediately alleviated with such effectiveness that he signed a contract with the intervening third party to perform with grandmother in a television commercial demonstrating the swiftness of this dramatic relief for stomach discontent.

“I’m going to be on television,” cried grandmother.

And they all joined her happily in crying, “What a phenomena!”


Isn't it funny how we, adults, sometimes say simple things in a roundabout way?

Well, to balance things out, I think we should hear all sides in the issue.

Let us therefore read the
wolf's version.


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