Little Red Riding Hood, or Little Red Ridinghood, also known as Little Red Cap or simply Red Riding Hood, is a French and later European fairy tale about a young girl and a Big Bad Wolf. The story has been changed considerably in its history and subject to numerous modern adaptations and readings. The story was first published by Charles Perrault.
The story revolves around a girl called Little Red Riding Hood, after the red hooded cape/cloak (in Perrault‘s fairytale) or simple cap (in the Grimms’ version called Little Red-Cap) she wears. The girl walks through the woods to goodies to her sickly grandmother. In the Grimms’ version at least, she had the order from her mother to stay strictly on the path.
A mean wolf wants to eat the girl and the food in the basket. He secretly stalks her behind trees,bushes, shrubs and patches of little grass & tall grass. He approaches Little Red Riding Hood and she naïvely tells him where she is going. He suggests the girl pick some flowers, which she does. In the meantime, he goes to the grandmother’s house and gains entry by pretending to be the girl. He swallows the grandmother whole (in some stories, he locks her in the closet) and waits for the girl, disguised as the grandma.
When the girl arrives, she notices that her grandmother looks very strange. Little Red then says, “What a deep voice you have!” (“The better to greet you with”), “Goodness, what big eyes you have!” (“The better to see you with”), “And what big hands you have!” (“The better to hug/grab you with”), and lastly, “What a big mouth you have” (“The better to eat you with!”), at which point the wolf jumps out of bed, and swallows her up too. Then he falls asleep. In Charles Perrault’s version of the story (the first version to be published), the tale ends here. However, in later versions the story continues generally as follows:
A lumberjack (in the French version but in the Brothers Grimm and traditional German versions, a hunter), comes to the rescue and with his axe cuts open the sleeping wolf. Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother emerge unharmed. They then fill the wolf’s body with heavy stones. The wolf awakens and tries to flee, but the stones cause him to collapse and die.