Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Once upon a time there was a sweet little girl. Everyone who saw her liked
her, but most of all her grandmother, who did not know what to give the
child next. Once she gave her a little cap made of red velvet. Because it
suited her so well, and she wanted to wear it all the time, she came to be
known as 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 sick
and weak, and they will do her well. Mind your manners and give her my
greetings. Behave yourself on the way, and do not leave the path, or you
might fall down and break the glass, and then there will be nothing for
your sick grandmother.”
Little Red Cap promised to obey her mother. The grandmother lived out
in the woods, a half hour from the village. When Little Red Cap entered
the woods a wolf came up to her. She did not know what a wicked animal he
was, and was not afraid of him.
”Good day to you, Little Red Cap.”
”Thank you, wolf.”
”Where are you going so early, Little Red Cap?”
”And what are you carrying under your apron?”
”Grandmother is sick and weak, and I am taking her some cake and wine.
We baked yesterday, and they should give her strength.”
”Little Red Cap, just where does your grandmother live?”
”Her house is a good quarter hour from here in the woods, under the
three large oak trees. There’s a hedge of hazel bushes there. You must
know the place,” said Little Red Cap.
The wolf thought to himself, ”Now there is a tasty bite for me. Just
how are you going to catch her?” Then he said, ”Listen, Little Red Cap,
haven’t you seen the beautiful flowers that are blossoming in the woods?
don’t you go and take a look? And I don’t believe you can hear how
beautifully the birds are singing. You are walking along as though you
were on your way to school in
the village. It is very beautiful in the woods.”
Little Red Cap opened her eyes and saw the sunlight breaking through
the trees and how the ground was covered with beautiful flowers. She
thought, ”If a take a bouquet to grandmother, she will be very pleased.
Anyway, it is still early, and I’ll be home on time.” And she ran off into
the woods looking for flowers. Each time she picked one she thought that
she could see an even more beautiful one a little way off, and she ran
after it, going further and further into the woods. But the wolf ran
straight to the grandmother’s house and knocked on the door.
”Little Red Cap. I’m bringing you some cake and wine. Open the door for
”Just press the latch,” called out the grandmother. ”I’m too weak to
The wolf pressed the latch, and the door opened. He stepped inside,
went straight to the grandmother’s bed, and ate her up. Then he took her
clothes, put them on, and put her cap on his head. He got into her bed and
pulled the curtains shut.
Little Red Cap had run after flowers, and did not continue on her way
to grandmother’s until she had gathered all that she could carry. When she
arrived, she found, to her surprise, that the door was open. She walked
into the parlor, and everything looked so strange that she thought, ”Oh,
my God, why am I so afraid? I usually like it at grandmother’s.” Then she
went to the bed and pulled back the curtains. Grandmother was lying there
with her cap pulled down over her face and looking very strange.
”Oh, grandmother, what big ears you have!”
”All the better to hear you with.”
”Oh, grandmother, what big eyes you have!”
”All the better to see you with.”
”Oh, grandmother, what big hands you have!”
”All the better to grab you with!”
”Oh, grandmother, what a horribly big mouth you have!”
”All the better to eat you with!” And with that he jumped out of bed,
jumped on top of poor Little Red Cap, and ate her up. As soon as the wolf
had finished this tasty bite, he climbed back into bed, fell asleep, and
began to snore very loudly.
A huntsman was just passing by. He thought it strange that the old
woman was snoring so loudly, so he decided to take a look. He stepped
inside, and in the bed there lay the wolf that he had been hunting for
such a long time. ”He has eaten the grandmother, but perhaps she still can
be saved. I won’t shoot him,” thought the huntsman. So he took a pair of
scissors and cut open his belly.
He had cut only a few strokes when he saw the red cap shining through.
He cut a little more, and the girl jumped out and cried, ”Oh, I was so
frightened! It was so dark inside the wolf’s body!”
And then the grandmother came out alive as well. Then Little Red Cap
fetched some large heavy stones. They filled the wolf’s body with them,
and when he woke up
and tried to run away, the stones were so heavy that he fell down dead.
The three of them were happy. The huntsman took the wolf’s pelt.
The grandmother ate the cake and drank the wine that Little Red Cap had
brought. And Little Red Cap thought to herself, ”As long as I live, I will
never leave the path and run off into the woods by myself if mother tells
me not to.”
They also tell how Little Red Cap was taking some baked things to her
grandmother another time, when another wolf spoke to her and wanted her to
leave the path. But Little Red Cap took care and went straight to
grandmother’s. She told her that she had seen the wolf, and that he had
wished her a good day, but had stared at her in a wicked manner. ”If we
hadn’t been on a public road, he would have eaten me up,” she said.
”Come,” said the grandmother. ”Let’s lock the door, so he can’t get
Soon afterward the wolf knocked on the door and called out, ”Open up,
grandmother. It’s Little Red Cap, and I’m bringing you some baked things.”
They remained silent, and did not open the door. The wicked one walked
around the house several times, and finally jumped onto the roof. He
wanted to wait until Little Red Cap went home that evening, then follow
her and eat her up in the darkness. But the grandmother saw what he was up
to. There was a large stone trough in front of the house.
”Fetch a bucket, Little Red Cap,” she said. ”Yesterday I cooked some
sausage. Carry the
water that I boiled them with to the trough.” Little Red Cap carried water
until the large, large trough was clear full. The smell of sausage arose
into the wolf’s nose. He sniffed and looked down, stretching his neck so
long that he could no longer hold himself, and he began to slide. He slid
off the roof, fell into the trough,
and drowned. And Little Red Cap returned home happily and safely.
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