A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

A new twist on an old fairy tale...


In a thatched cottage on the edge of the village of men that almost nestled against the outer fringes of the Forest there lived a widow with her lovely young daughter, Red. The child above all things loved to go riding round the Forest on a bright yellow tandem. She was not only lovely, she was beautiful, with flaxen locks of perfect hair that hung over one shoulder like braided silk until she put on the red hooded cloak she wore when she was out riding, and then she plaited it into pigtails so that it didn’t get in the way of her spokes.

Red was the apple of her mother’s eye and the pear of her uncle Jules squinty Uncle Jules who had a soft spot for her when he wasn’t planning to cut down the forest and build expensive mansions for oligarchs to buy. But she hated that uncle and it was she who had first called him Junkface, a nickname that had stuck despite his best efforts to lose it. But everyone, even the pastor in his church and the churchwarden with his schoolboys’ choir had picked up the nickname and used it in the most offensive way because they found the child’s uncle offensive.

Everyone found him offensive, even Little Red Riding Hood, which is what he called his niece in the mistaken belief that he was being offensive too by coining such a name. But he wasn’t, and Red rather liked the nickname.

She loved riding her tandem to visit her grandmother who lived in an equally delightful thatched cottage on the other side of the forest, and Red usually rode along the path that circumnavigated that forest because of rumours of dark creatures within its sylvan depths. But on one particular day she decided to take a short cut. She wanted her granny to braid her hair so that she could play the part of a princess in a school play and braiding hair wasn’t one of her mother’s talents. But granny could do it. She could braid to her heart’s content and make a beautiful job of anything she braided, even the old mop she used to clean her tiny kitchen’s stone floor.

Half way through the forest she came upon a stream of crystal waters, so gurgling and rattling and pure to look at that she instantly felt thirsty, so she climbed off her tandem, leaned it against a tree and scooped up a delightful handful of the wonderful water.

“I wouldn’t drink that if I were you,” said a voice, a clear voice in words she understood, which was odd seeing that they came from a wolf.

“What?” she asked, shocked, surprised, even dumbfounded, and she dropped the handful of water before it touched her lips.

“I wouldn’t drink it if I were you because a nasty fellow poured loads and loads of poison into it,” repeated the wolf, a dribble of almost fragrant saliva dripping from the corner of its open mouth. “Let me introduce myself,” he continued, “I’m known in these parts as Wolfy and my main job in life is to look out for the incursions of men, and discourage them by bearing my teeth and howling in their faces. It’s fun that, howling in their faces and seeing how their eyes become filled with fear and they scamper off as if all the hounds of hell were behind them, and to think that I don’t even believe there’s a place called hell.”

“But why would you do that?” asked a curious Red, “it seems very pointless to me.”

“Ah, but the men mean us harm,” said Wolfy quite solemnly. “They have this thing about chopping down trees and building great big buildings that nobody wants in the heart of our forest. And we can’t allow that. The forest is ours and as long as folk live in peace they’re welcome. But chain-saws? They’re a no-no, and no mistake.

“Why haven’t you howled at me and scared me silly?” asked Red, now curious.

“Ah, I would have but it didn’t seem fair because I know who you are. You’re the little lass that visits old Griselda in her cottage on the far side of the forest, and Griselda’s a friend of we who live in the forest. She’s probably the only human friend we’ve got, if she’s human, that is. Anyway, you’re pretty as a picture and I’d hate to do anything to spoil that!”

“Griselda. That’s what my granny’s called,” smiled Red, “and she loves to plait my hair for me, and then come out with me on the back seat of my bicycle made for two! We ride here and there and pick daisies and laugh at all the silly things in the world!”

“Silly things?” asked Wolfy, “what sort of silly things do you two find so amusing that you have to laugh at them?”

“Oh, the shapes of clouds, the way dandelion parachutes sail through the air as if there was a dwarf parachutist guiding them from the tiny seed he’s sitting on, that sort of thing,” said Red, smiling. “I know it’s daft really, but it is fun.”

“And then Jules Junkface came along...” sighed Wolfy. “He’s a man, you know, a bad man who wants to chop our forest down. He’s the man who poisoned the water and shot poor old Twinkletoes...”

“He’s my uncle!” exclaimed Red, “and I hate him more than I hate aniseed,” she added, “and I’m not at all fond of that!”

“It’s nasty stuff,” agreed Wolfy, “but I’ve got news for you, it seems.”

“You have?” Red’s eyes opened wide as she looked at the kindly face of the wolf called Wolfy.

“Oh yes I have, but may I say, sweet little Red, may I say what big eyes you’ve got!”

“All the better to see you with,” laughed Red.

“And may I say what a big nose you’ve got?” he giggled.

“I suppose I should say all the better to smell you with, but you don’t smell and my nose is really rather small,” she replied, solemnly.

“And finally, let me say what a big mouth you’ve got!” he grinned.

“All the better to kiss you with,” she almost shouted, and to prove her point she jumped towards Wolfy and planted a great big little-girl kiss on the point of his chin.

“Oh my my,” he said, suddenly quiet, “my oh my oh my.”

“What were you going to tell me?” asked Red, suddenly shyly.

“It’s that uncle of yours, the one with the chain saw and the twelve bore… his face started melting and to stop it he splashed cold stream water all over it.”

“Serve him right,” nodded Red.

“And now, my little friend, he’s in a dire coma and the doctor doesn’t think he’ll survive the night, and if he does he might end up being no more than a vegetable.”

Red looked at him, then smiled. “Serve him right,” she repeated, “I do hope he becomes a cauliflower! I love cauliflower cheese!”

© Peter Rogerson 28.10 18

© 2018 Peter Rogerson

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(Wonderingly) weird, man... AHEM! Most of the problems here are punctuation; that is , the lack of it in several places. Then we have the wolf saying he as 'bearing' his teeth, when you must have meant 'baring', or exposing, them, not 'bearing', as in possessing them. I am curious...just who is (was) Twinkletoes?

Posted 2 Years Ago

Peter Rogerson

2 Years Ago

Sorry about the bearing. Twinkletoes appears in the chapter entitles "Twinkletoes".If Homer could no.. read more
Peter Rogerson

2 Years Ago

oh dear. Entitled.

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Added on October 28, 2018
Last Updated on October 29, 2018
Tags: Red Riding Hood, wold, granny, forest, Junkface, chain-saws, oligarchs


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..