Versified by Mrs. Clara Doty Bates.
If you listen, children, I will tell
The story of little Red Riding-hood:
Such wonderful, wonderful things befell
Her and her grandmother, old and good
(So old she was never very well),
Who lived in a cottage in a wood.
Little Red Riding-hood, every day,
Whatever the weather, shine or storm,
To see her grandmother tripped away,
With a scarlet hood to keep her warm,
And a little mantle, soft and gay,
And a basket of goodies on her arm.
A pat of butter, and cakes of cheese,
Were stored in the napkin, nice and neat;
As she danced along beneath the trees,
As light as a shadow were her feet;
And she hummed such tunes as the bumble-bees
Hum when the clover-tops are sweet.
But an ugly wolf by chance espied
The child, and marked her for his prize.
"What are you carrying there?" he cried;
"Is it some fresh-baked cakes and pies?"
And he walked along close by her side,
And sniffed and rolled his hungry eyes.
"A basket of things for granny, it is,"
She answered brightly, without fear.
"Oh, I know her very well, sweet miss!
Two roads branch towards her cottage here;
You go that way, and I'll go this.
See which will get there first, my dear!"
He fled to the cottage, swift and sly;
Rapped softly, with a dreadful grin.
"Who's there?" asked granny. "Only I!"
Piping his voice up high and thin.
"Pull the string, and the latch will fly!"
Old granny said; and he went in.
He glared her over from foot to head;
In a second more the thing was done!
He gobbled her up, and merely said,
"She wasn't a very tender one!"
And then he jumped into the bed,
And put her sack and night-cap on.
And he heard soft footsteps presently,
And then on the door a timid rap;
He knew Red Riding-hood was shy,
So he answered faintly to the tap:
"Pull the string and the latch will fly!"
She did: and granny, in her night-cap,
Lay covered almost up to her nose.
"Oh, granny dear!" she cried, "are you worse?"
"I'm all of a shiver, even to my toes!
Please won't you be my little nurse,
And snug up tight here under the clothes?"
Red Riding-hood answered, "Yes," of course.
Her innocent head on the pillow laid,
She spied great pricked-up, hairy ears,
And a fierce great mouth, wide open spread,
And green eyes, filled with wicked leers;
And all of a sudden she grew afraid;
Yet she softly asked, in spite of her fears:
"Oh, granny! what makes your ears so big?"
"To hear you with! to hear you with!"
"Oh, granny! what make your eyes so big?"
"To see you with! to see you with!"
"Oh, granny! what makes your teeth so big?"
"To eat you with! to eat you with!"
And he sprang to swallow her up alive;
But it chanced a woodman from the wood,
Hearing her shriek, rushed, with his knife,
And drenched the wolf in his own blood.
And in that way he saved the life
Of pretty little Red Riding-hood.
The dogs do bark
Beggars are coming to town;
Some in jags,
Some in rags,
And some in velvet gowns.