Friday, 14 February 2014

Little Red Riding Hood & The Other Wolf, a YA Tale

I wrote this for The 2012 Grimms Fairy Tale competition run by the Goethe Institute Wellington. After the main prize winners were drawn, all entries were posted on their website over the course of 2013 and rated/commented on. The most applauded tales will be published in a collection at the by Xmas 2014. Meanwhile here is my story again...Happy Valentines lovers!

 LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD AND THE OTHER WOLF by Jane Bloomfield


colourbox.com

Once upon a time, there lived a wolf, a very strange wolf.
‘Look Mr Wolf, do you really expect me to hand over a muffin every Saturday. Just because you stand on two legs and bare your yellow fangs at me. You really need to use whitening toothpaste BTW,’ said Little Red Riding Hood.
‘Give me one,’ said Mr Wolf.
‘Nope.’
‘Give me a muffin.’
‘Doubt it.’
‘I’ll tear that awful red hoodie of yours, if you don’t.’
‘What evs.’
‘I’ll bite you.’
‘I’ll bite you back. Well, I wouldn’t actually; I’d get a gob full of fur. You really need to brush yourself. You fur coat is manky as.’
‘Look, I was kicked out of home as a young whelp. No one taught me to hunt. I’m starving. I live off nuts and berries and roots.’
‘How can you? You must have those things…wha da ya call em? Oh yeah - instincts. You’re a meat eater.’
‘My meat eating gene must have mutated. I’m a vegetarian.’
‘Aww hun that really stuffs up this fairy tale doesn’t it. You don’t even want to eat me?’
‘Please Little-hood-red-riding.’
‘My name is Little-red-riding-hood. Red for short.’
‘Look Red. You’re right - I don’t want to eat you. But I’d KILL you just to get one of your muffins.’ At that point the wolf sprang towards Red, knocking her to the ground.
Furious, she kicked and squirmed and somehow managed to get out from under the skinny wolf. Then she jumped to her feet and shouted. ‘Totes inappropes, Mr Wolf.’ Before he could respond she grabbed her basket, thankfully still intact, and ran off singing. ‘Jingle bells wolf-y smells, girly got away.’
Slowly, hungry Mr Wolf staggered onto his feet. Then with his tail between his legs and his nose to the leafy path, he tracked Red’s scent. At least he could follow his prey, even if he had no desire to eat it.
The sun peeked through the high bush canopy. Red, so happy she’d got rid of smelly Mr Wolf, skipped off the path in search of Bluebells. The flowers were sparsely dotted about and she soon found herself deep in the bush. Oopsie. Her Dad (the local firewood supplier), told her never to go off the path. She sat down, plucked a piece of fern and tied it around her posy. Music played loud in her headphones, she leant back against a tree and shut her eyes.
Bad move. It didn’t take long for the now VERY hungry Mr Wolf to find her. As she dozed he helped himself to a muffin. They were still warm. Then another.
Red tensed. She knew Mr Wolf was beside her. His smell was so wolf-y. As he gobbled down one muffin after another, she tried not to move a muscle. She hoped he’d be in a better mood once he’d eaten.
By and by Mr Wolf let out an enormous burp. Then he flopped down beside her. His stomach bulged. ‘Sorry Red,’ he said. ‘I’ve scoffed all the muffins. They were delicious BTW.’
‘Great. This isn’t the story of the big fat pig you know. What am I going to take to Granny now?’ said Red.
The wolf shrugged and burped again. ‘I could be sick,’ he said.
‘Eww. I’m outta here.’
‘See ya. Same time, same place,’ said Mr Wolf, rubbing his tummy and licking his chops.
‘In your dreams, fur-ball,’ muttered Red. She back tracked and finally arrived at Granny’s house. ‘Granny you won’t believe what happened.’
‘Try me.’
So Red told her story. ‘A vegetarian wolf hey? Now I know who’s been raiding my veg patch. And I thought it was Peter Rabbit. Don’t panic I have the perfect solution for bullies who help themselves to fresh goods,’ she said, patting the side of her nose with her forefinger.
The following Saturday Red set off as usual with her basket of freshly baked muffins. Only the top layer of muffins contained Granny’s secret ingredient.
‘Sup Red?’ said Mr Wolf, as Red walked along the path.
‘Don’t try and be young and cool Mr Wolf. It’s tragic. Seriously.’
‘Mmmm, those muffins smell good Red.’
‘Want one? White chocolate and raspberry,’ said Red, in her kindest voice.
‘What, I don’t have to follow you and dress up in your Granny’s nightie?’ said Mr Wolf.
‘Nope.’
‘I smell a rat.’
‘Why? Do my ears look big?’
‘No.’
‘Do my eyes look big?’
‘No bigger than usual.’
‘Does my mouth look big?’
‘Just pouty.’
‘Well, would you like a muffin or not?’
‘I still smell a rat.’
‘No you smell sweet chocolate fruit muffins. Come on you know you want one.’
Red waved a moist jumbo muffin under Mr Wolf’s snout. Silvery strands of saliva hung from his jagged jaw. His stomach growled as he ran his long pink tongue over his yellow fangs. Next thing, he swallowed the muffin whole.
‘Here have another,’ said Red. ‘And another.’ Chomp. Soon those six special muffins were gone.
The wolf rubbed his swollen tummy. ‘My they were filling. I think I need a lie down.’ He slumped onto a soft fern.
‘Toodles then. I’m off. See you round. Not.’ Red skipped off down the path till she was out of sight, then she sprinted to Granny’s cottage. It wouldn’t take long for the special salts to take effect. ‘Jingle bells, wolf-y swells, girly ran away.’
‘Did he eat them?’ asked Granny when she arrived.
‘Yep. All six of them.’
‘He’ll probably go gluten free after that.’
‘Probably.’ Red started giggling. So did Granny. Soon they were rolling around on the rug holding their stomachs. Until a Fantail flitted into the cottage and dipped and dived above them, like he was giving them a good telling off.
‘Oh dear. I hope we haven’t taken things too far?’ said Granny.
Just then, Red’s dad appeared at the cottage door. ‘Did that pesky old wolf leave me a muffin for morning tea?’ he asked.
‘Have you seen the wolf this morning?’ said Granny.
‘Yes. He was hopping from tree to tree like a three legged cat,’ said Dad.
‘That’s a relief,’ said Granny.
Granny, Red and her dad were enjoying herb tea and muffins on the porch when Mr Wolf appeared.
‘I wouldn’t eat those if I were you,’ said Mr Wolf. ‘Gave me more than a stomach ache.’ Then the wolf’s yellow eyes flickered. ‘Unless that was some kind of payback. It if was, I think we can call it quits now. You?’
‘Quits,’ said Granny and Red together.
‘I have an idea,’ said Red. ‘How bout you drop the creepy following act and be Granny’s guard-wolf. Someone’s been stealing her vegetables. And Granny has special salts for people who help themselves. Don’t you Granny.’
‘I do Red. I do,’ said Granny.
So the old wolf took up residence in Granny’s wood shed. He dutifully guarded her garden day and night in exchange for vegetables. Mostly he looked forward to Red’s muffins on Saturdays. Some days he took a stroll in the bush, but he made sure he never crept up on anyone, ever again.
So Red, her Dad, Granny and Mr Wolf all lived happily ever after.

This is what Steve Braunias had to say about my story: Wonderful story! I love the way dialogue can tell a story and this was a great example. I also loved the "BTW"s and the "totes", the way they set the tone of a modern children's story. The whimsical humour moved the story along swiftly, towards an almost sad ending. 

Thanks Steve
& Thank you Goethe Institute for giving all the many and varied luscious tales an airing.

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