Friday 9 April 2010

Little Red Riding Hood III, by Terri Mullholland

Millicent Sowerby, 1909

Once upon a time I met you and it was as if I had known you a long time ago. In you I found a friend. You complimented me on my red hood, you said red was your favourite colour. You smiled at me. You weren't like the wolves in the stories my mother told me. I delighted in your glossy coat and you let me rub my face against yours. Soft wolf, gentle wolf.

We met several times to play in the woods together. You were often hungry and glad to share my lunch. One day I explained I couldn't stay long because I was taking some cakes to my Grandma's house. 'The dear old lady on the other side of the wood? But I know her very well, we're often to be found taking tea together.' We rejoiced that we had found someone in my family to bless our friendship. While I finished gathering my fragrant bouquet, you said you'd run on ahead and tell Grandma to set another place for tea.

Later, when I knocked at Grandma's door, I knew it was you answering. You had put on a silly, high voice to make me laugh. I joined in the game too. In the dim light I could see you lying in Grandma's bed, one of her bonnets over your head, your ears poking out comically. We went through the routine, like in the old story. 'What big ears you have Grandma.' You smiled at me, your eyes looked longingly into mine. 'What big eyes you have Grandma.' I walked forward and took your paw in mine. Your paw lay black on the white bedspread with the red roses. Red your favourite colour. 'What a big mouth you have.' Your face came towards me, your smiling red mouth on mine.

*** I first met Terri sixteen years ago. She and I spent many happy hours together as undergraduates, sharing Lord Byron fantasies. A committed bibliophile, talented writer and all-round clever-clogs, Terri can usually be tracked down to one of a number of libraries, either at Oxford or in London. She also dances expertly and with great enthusiasm, plays a mean wooden spoon, and is thus a fine addition to any party.

***I hope to post further responses to Little Red Riding Hood, over the coming months. If you too would like to get involved in this project and write a short (no more than 500 words of prose or 100 lines of poetry) response to the story, please email either
Rebecca or me at Poems, stories, prose-poems will all be jubilantly received and posted on one or other of our sites, although we won't be able to pay you for them, as neither of us have any money. Alternatively, if you'd rather post a reponse on your own blog, please just let us know where it is and we'll link metaphorical hands, or rather, paws.

1 comment:

  1. A beautiful addition to the Little Red party, Terri. Your wolf reminds me of my first boyfriend, who I met in a wood, who enticed me off the path for a while, who was disliked heartily by my parents, but who ultimately was more beagle than lupine. Not at all as sensually menacing as your wolf turns out to be!