Monday, August 14, 2006

A Wolf's Point of View (not original)

OK, so I got killed in the end and you all said yippee. I'm not complaining about that. I wasn't as clever as I thought I was, so I'll take defeat like a wolf. But now that I'm a was-wolf (that is, a dead wolf), and I'm up here in Valhowla (paradise for wolves), I'll rest a lot easier if the record is set straight.

The official accounts of what happened that day are all lies, and I hate lies -- especially lies about me. So here's the story of what really happened.

The first lie that annoys me is all this big-bad-wolf business. Big? I may have been average size once, but by the time I was killed, I was more ribs than muscle. I hadn't had a decent meal in weeks. Skinny, yes -- big, no. And why bad? What was ever bad about me? I reckon I'm one of the nicest wolves I know. So instead of, "In the forest there lived a big bad wolf", now read, "In the forest there lived a skinny nice wolf."

Next we come to the question of motive. The history books say I wanted to eat Little Red Riding Hood. I didn't, and I can prove it. But even if I had wanted to eat her, what's so terrible about that? When she had eggs and bacon for breakfast, did anyone complain that big bad Red Riding hood took the eggs from the chicken as well as two slices off Porky Pig?

When she had roast turkey for Christmas, did it bother her what might have happened to Mrs Turkey and all the little Turks? When she sank her teeth into a juicy rump of steak, did she spare a thought for some poor cow walking round the field with half its bottom missing? What's the difference between a little girl eating me and my mates, and me eating a little girl?

Anyway, as I said, I didn't want to eat her. Here's the proof. You remember she and I had a little chat in the woods? I asked her where she was going, what she had in the basket, and where her sick granny lived. Well, if I was close enough to talk to her, you'll have to agree that I was close enough to eat her. Why didn't I? Some of the accounts suggest it was because there were some woodcutters nearby. Rubbish. If there'd been a single woodcutter nearby, I'd have been off faster than you can say, "The wonderful wolf went away from the wood."

The fact is I was after Red Riding Hood's basket with all the goodies in it. With my blunt old teeth I couldn't even bite a chicken, let alone a little girl. It was the basket I wanted. I thought of stealing it from her there and then, but for three reasons I didn't.

First, I didn't want to upset her. Second, she might have started screaming, and I don't like screams, or people who hear screams. And third, she might not have let go, and I was in no condition for a fight.

My plan was very simple. I intended to pop along Granny's cottage, give her a little scare so she'd run away for a few minutes, pretend I was Granny, and relieve Red Riding Hood of the basket. Then she would have gone home thinking she'd done her good deed, Granny would have come back feeling pleased that she'd escaped from the wolf, and I'd have got the basket. We'd all have lived happily ever after.

Only things didn't quite work out that way. First of all, in spite of what the official reports might say, Granny wasn't there. I pushed open the door, all set to say "boo" and get out of the way as she rushed out, but there was nobody to say "boo" to. Actually, I was rather glad, because some grannies don't scare easily. I've seen grannies that scare me a good deal more than I scare them.

Anyway, the room was empty, so I reckoned it was my lucky day. I crawled into bed, pulling the covers over me. In a few minutes, Little Red Riding Hood came along, and again the history books have got it all wrong. Unless she was as short-sighted as a one-eyed rhinoceros, do you honestly think that she would have taken me for her grandmother? All those lies about "what big teeth you have", and so on. I'll tell you exactly what we said to each other.

When she knocked on the door, I stayed under the covers and called out: "Who is it?" (That was rather clever of me. I knew who it was, but Granny wouldn't have known, would she?)

"It's me Grandma!" said Red Riding Hood.

"Who's me?" I asked.

"You's you!" she replied.

"Well, who's you?" I asked.

"Little Red Riding Hood!" she said. "I've brought you a basket full of lovely food."

"Oh, surprise, surprise!" I said. "Come in, my dear, come in." And in she came.

Naturally I stayed under the covers.

"How are you Grandma?" she asked.

"I'm not well at all, dear," I said. "I've caught a catching illness, and as I don't want you to catch it too, I'll stay under the covers will you've gone. Just leave the basket there, dear, and run along home. Run quickly, 'cos I've heard there's a big bad wolf in the forest."

It was brilliant. I felt like jumping out of bed and giving myself a round of applause.

"Yes, Grandma," said Red Riding Hood, and she put down the basket, turned around to leave, and ... just my luck! Who should walk in the room at that moment but Granny herself! I knew I was in trouble as soon as I heard the footsteps. I'd made a run for it if I hadn't been paralysed with terror.

"Hullo, Red Riding Hood," said Granny.

"Hullo, Grandma," said Red Riding Hood.

"Hullo, trouble," said I to myself.

"Grandma," said Red Riding Hood, "if you're here, who could that be in your bed?"

I wished I could just curl up and disappear down the side of the mattress.

"Whoever you are," said Granny, "I've got you covered. Come out with your hands up."

I poked my nose out from under the blanket.

"Look," I said, "it's all been a terrible mistake..."

"It's the big bad wolf!" said Red Riding Hood.

"No, no," I said, "I'm just a skinny nice wolf..."


Oh, the injustice! All I wanted was something to eat, but before I even had a chance to impress them with my charm and good intentions, Granny had put three bullets to where I should have had the fruit cake and chocolate biscuits. I collapsed like a chopped tree.

"Good shooting, Grandma!" said Red Riding Hood -- though what was good about it I shall never know.

"Quick, fetch the vet!" I gasped.

But the last thing those two had in their mind was to help poor dying Wolfie. "We ought to get the newspapers here," said Granny. "This could be quite a story."

"Oh, yes," said Red Riding Hood. "They might publish our pictures and we'd be famous!"

And while I lay there, half in and half out of the world, they calmly discussed the tale they would tell the reporters. Granny was worried that she might get into trouble because she didn't have a licence for the gun. (I wished she'd thought of that earlier.) Red Riding Hood also wondered why Granny hadn't been in her bed, because she was supposed to be sick. It turned out that Granny had been on the lavatory, but she certainly wasn't going to tell that to the reporters.

"And what," said Granny, "are they going to think when they find the wolf in my bed?" After all, I've got my reputation to think of."

"Blow your reputation," I groaned. "What about me? I've been shot!"

"You keep out of this, Wolfie," said Granny. "You've caused enough trouble as it is."

I'd caused trouble! Was it my fault that she'd been on the lavatory? And who fired the gun? And who didn't have a licence? But it as no use arguing they'd made up their mind that I was the villain and they were the heroes.

"Perhaps," said Red Riding Hood, "we can pretend someone else shot him a hunter, or woodcutter."

"But that wouldn't explain how he got into my bed." said Granny.

"I know what," cried Red Riding Hood. "We could say you were in bed, and Wolfie came in and ate you."

"You must be joking," I moaned. "With my teeth, I couldn't even eat a chicken, let along a tough old bird like Granny."

"Keep quiet, Wolfie!" said Granny. "No, the problem there, my dear, is that if he'd eaten me, I'd be dead. And I'm not."

"Well," said Red Riding Hood, "we could say he ate you whole, and then the woodcutter cut him open and you came out alive."

"Now that's an idea!" said Granny.

"Oh yeah!" I gasped. "A newborn fifteen-stone sixty-year-old baby! Who's going to believe that?"

"Then," continued the Little Red Liar, "we'll say he disguised himself as you, I came in, and the woodcutter rescued me in the nick of time."

"Oh, well," I groaned, "why don't I eat a whole Red Riding Hood for dessert -- make a proper meal of it?"

"Why not?" asked Granny.

"You're both crazy!" I panted. "Nobody in this whole wide world could be stupid enough to swallow a story like that!"

Those were my last words. With one more bullet from Granny, I huffed my last puff. But I died happy in the knowledge that nobody in the whole wide world could be stupid enough to swallow a story like that.

Ugh, how wrong can a wolf be?


goldennib said...

I love fairy tales written from another character's POV.

Grey Shades said...

Jenn Jenn Jenn! You manage to make me laugh everytime with your quirly stories :) This one was super...

QuillDancer said...

I like this story. I have heard other versions as well. I love fractured fairy tales. One of my favorites is Jon Scieszka's, The True Story of the Big Bad Wolf.

QuillDancer said...

All the prevaricaters have weighed in. Their 'truth deficient' tales are posted on my blog. Voting starts Monday morning. Since you are a contender you will want to come by and vote for yourself as, "The Greatest Living Liar."

Jenn said...

Nessa: So do I. This one always cracks me up.

Grey: Aiyo, can-ah? Not originalar was one of the versions of RRH I read in my folklore and fairy tales class. I loved it.

Quilly: Never read that one...although I did read the Angela Carter version of this tale, which I thought was excellent, though not for children.
How do we vote?

QuillDancer said...

The Liar's Contest poll is up on my blog. Run over and vote for yourself as The Greatest Liar ever. Bring your friends along to vote to. Since it's a Liar's Contest we are all obviously short on integrity, so there is no limit to how many times you can vote -- or how often. Let the games begin!

Jenn said...

Quilly, I did. And now am feeling slightly ashamed of myself. Oh well...

QuillDancer said...

Jenn -- do not feel ashamed. You should see what folks are doing. Dr John -- a retired pastor! -- has shamelessly ordered his friends to my blog to leave one, three or maybe even four votes for him behind. In fact, when last I checked he was running away with the vote!

Wild Reeds said...

I once read a hilarious version of the tale, with a vegan wolf and a same-sex-oriented Red Riding Hood who wanted to be 'eaten' like the original book recommended.

QuillDancer said...

Wild Reeds, I saw a comedic storyteller present that story as a monologue. I laughed so hard I really was rotflol. My face hurt. My stomach hurt. I was crying --- it was a grand performance. I would love to read the book.

Hi, Jenn!

Grey Shades said...

It still is hilarious! Actually felt sorry for the poor wolfie :) How you been doing? My loooooong weekend is coming to an end :(

goldennib said...

Jenn, my dearest, where are you?

QuillDancer said...

Everytime I pass this way I start to sing:

"Hey there Little Red Ridinghood,
you sure are looking good.
You're everything a Big Bad Wolf could want....."

Jenn said...

Sorry I've been away. The insomnia finally came to a head and was wandering around dazed, falling asleep at the wheel, able to read my mail but not much else.

I think I'm much better now....

Wild Reeds: Welcome to my blog. No, I never heard of that version, but did you read the Angela Carter version where Red Riding Hood seduced the (were)wolf, throwing his clothes into the fire so he couldn't turn back into a human. She became a wolf instead. It was SO cool, though not for kids.

Quilly: Hey! :)

Grey: Always glad to make you laugh. Now have to think up something else...hmmmmmm

Nessa: I'm here, I'm here (jumping up and down). Awake, finally, awake.

Quilly: How about: "Hey wolfie I'm your worst nightmare, your ass is mine....."

QuillDancer said...

Jenn, ther's a prize for you on my blog -- and I have a cramp in my hand!