How Little Red Riding Hood Came to Be Eaten

How Little Red Riding Hood Came to Be Eaten

by Guy Wetmore Carryl



Red Riding Hood

Most worthy of praise

Were the virtuous ways

Of Little Red Riding Hood’s Ma,

And no one was ever

More cautious and clever

Than Little Red Riding Hood’s Pa.

They never misled,

For they meant what they said,

And would frequently say what they meant,

And the way she should go

They were careful to show,

And the way that they showed her, she went.


For obedience she was effusively thanked,

And for anything else she was carefully spanked.


It thus isn’t strange

That Red Riding Hood’s range

Of virtues so steadily grew,

That soon she won prizes

Of different sizes,

And golden encomiums, too!

As a general rule

She was head of her school,

And at six was so notably smart

That they gave her a cheque

For reciting “The Wreck

Of the Hesperus,” wholly by heart!

And you all will applaud her the more, I am sure,

When I add that this money she gave to the poor.


At eleven this lass

Had a Sunday-school class,

At twelve wrote a volume of verse,

At thirteen was yearning

For glory, and learning

To be a professional nurse.

To a glorious height

The young paragon might

Have grown, if not nipped in the bud,


But the following year

Struck her smiling career

With a dull and a sickening thud!

1902 A. D.


(I have shed a great tear at the thought of her pain,

And must copy my manuscript over again!)


Not dreaming of harm,

One day on her arm

A basket she hung. It was filled

With jellies, and ices,

And gruel, and spices,

And chicken-legs, carefully grilled,

And a savory stew,

And a novel or two

She’d persuaded a neighbor to loan,

And a hot-water can,

And a Japanese fan,

And a bottle of eau-de-cologne,

And the rest of the things that your family fill

Your room with, whenever you chance to be ill!


She expected to find

Her decrepit but kind

Old Grandmother waiting her call,

But the visage that met her

Completely upset her:

It wasn’t familiar at all!

With a whitening cheek

She started to speak,

But her peril she instantly saw:—

Her Grandma had fled,

And she’d tackled instead

Four merciless Paws and a Maw!

When the neighbors came running, the wolf to subdue,

He was licking his chops, (and Red Riding Hood’s, too!)


This shows the bad wolf that came out of the wood,

And proved by his actions to be robbin’ Hood.


At this terrible tale

Some readers will pale,

And others with horror grow dumb,

And yet it was better,

I fear, he should get her:

Just think what she might have become!

For an infant so keen

Might in future have been

A woman of awful renown,

Who carried on fights

For her feminine rights

As the Mare of an Arkansas town.

She might have continued the crime of her ’teens,

And come to write verse for the Big Magazines!


The Moral: There’s nothing much glummer

Than children whose talents appall:

One much prefers those who are dumber,

But as for the paragons small,

If a swallow cannot make a summer

It can bring on a summary fall!


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