The first Tale; a retelling of Red Riding-Hood.
|Tale I: The Wolf across the Way|
A little girl in scarlet cloak
Into the woodland she did walk
Bread and wine in her basket
For to give her grandmama.
By an oak-tree ‘cross the way,
There did a monstrous grey-wolf lay,
His coat was like the wood-smoke blue,
His teeth were like dirk-blades.
The wolf he reared up on his back feet
And he did soon the young girl meet,
Ravening with hunger fresh
For to rend the young girl’s flesh.
The wolf he smiled a crooked smile,
Up to the young girl he did sidle,
Said he ‘Whither away, O little one?’
She said ‘To my grandmother’s, sir.’
The wolf he to her closer crept,
Wi’ the stench of blood upon his breath,
He said to her, ‘Look down that path,
Why, that’s a faster way.’
The girl she skipt on down t’ other road,
Leaping lightly wi’ her load,
Picking blooms while the birds they chirped,
Fu’ o’ gaiety.
The wolf he watched her skip away,
His burning-coal eyes did her survey,
Hungrier still did he feel,
Her form was tantalising.
The wolf continued on, without a load,
Down the beaten, well-trod road,
A lovely trick now he would play
To get twa meals at once.
The wolf to the grandmother’s house he went,
He was now nearly half-spent,
But he still had enough energy
To have an early dinner.
The wolf thudded his paw against the door,
Then out came the girl’s dear grandmother,
Spake she, ‘Who’s there?’ but she said no more,
As the wolf he did devour her.
The wolf put on her night dress, and
On his muzzle her glasses press’d,
Her nightcap he put on his head,
But his ears would not stay in it.
The girl soon skipped up to the door,
Soon she found the thing ajar,
She tiptoed in most cautiously,
For she saw seven drops o' blood upon the floor.
Upon the floor the girl she saw
The track of some fierce beast's paw,
But she paid no mind to it at all,
As she thought that it 'Must've been granny's dog'.
The girl she was as dense and thick
As a sack full of red bricks,
So she didn’t know that the wolf
Had scared the dog awa'.
Into the bedchamber the girl she strolled,
The basket still she did hold,
She laid the food before her 'granny' dear,
Who ate it all in a single go.
The 'grandmother' she drained the wine,
And straightened up her relaxed spine,
And readied himself did this lupine
To scoff down some Long Pig.
Spake the child to the false grandmother,
In fashions more foolish than any other;
'Granny, what great ears you have!'
Quoth the wolf in saccharine tones,
'The better to hear you with, My Dear.'
Spake the child again to the false grandmother,
Failing spectacularly to see the danger;
'Granny, what great eyes you have!'
Quoth the wolf again, throwing back the bedsheets,
'The better to see you with, My Dear.'
Spake the child once more to the false grandmother,
Ignoring the tail protruding from the nightdress,
'Granny, what a great mouth you have!'
Quoth the wolf, throwing off the nightdress and spectacles,
Jaws slobbering, champing, a red fleshy pit;
'The better to eat you with!'
Then leapt the wolf upon the girl,
In three bites he ate her,
With ripping teeth and writhing tongue
He swiftly ate his fill.
First he tore off both her legs
As she kicked and writhed,
Then her head and torso
As she screamed and yelled.
Then her arms he swallowed, (they were severed when
Her head and torso were swallowed).
What the wolf didn't get was the cloak,
Which fell from her shoulders when she entered the house,
Carnal in colour, as red as blood,
The colour of life, the colour of death.
By the house there came a woodsman,
Who delivered firewood to the place.
He lookt into the cottage well-thatch'd
Saw the paw-prints, heard the wolf snoring,
Sharpened his axe and his whittling-knife,
And ventured in to investigate.
He saw the wolf sprawled out well-gorg'd,
His tail batting upon the floor
Sated, sleeping quite soundly
Rolling over in his sleep.
The woodsman put together two and two,
Upon the wolf leapt he now,
With his axe he severed the wolf's strong tail,
And with his knife opened his stomach's gulf.
The grandmother, somewhat bloodstained,
Dragged herself from the wolf's split paunch,
She thanked the woodsman, and after her
Dragged her dismembered granddaughter.
The grandmother took out a ball of yarn,
And joined to the child's body her arms,
Likewise she took out a spool of thread,
And reattached her granddaughter's legs.
The woodsman oped both of the young girl's lids,
And milk-white were they,
He lookt sorrowfully on the girl's body
And proclaimed, 'Sadly, she is dead'.
The woodsman searched in his pocket,
And pulled out a bottle blue,
He gave it to the grandmother,
Said he to her, 'Look you--
In this bottle there's something called Elicumpane,
Administer now, and she'll rise again."
The grandmother poured some down her granddaughter's throat,
And then turned her gaze 'pon the wolf's hollow bloat.
She gathered thousands of rounded stones,
Each the size of an apple,
And placed them in the wolf's stomach,
And with the slit she grappled.
After a bit,
She swiftly sewed shut the slit,
And to the woodsman gave a nod.
The woodsman bore the wolf upon his back,
And into the woods he went again,
When the wolf awoke and tried to from the river drink,
He fell o'er the brink and drownéd.
The girl to life again arose,
And her grandmother she held her close,
Weeping with joy at the fact
That her granddaughter was alive once more.
The girl she pulled on again her cloak,
Through the woods again she walked
She kept to the path this time,
And let no wolf waylay her.
So son, be careful then of who you tell,
For they may turn out just as well
To be a monstrous butcher.