The True Story of Little Red Riding Hood

Once upon a time there was a little girl. She always wore a red cloak with a hood – so much so that everyone begun to call her little Red Riding Hood. Do you know her story?

Well, something that not many people know is that what Little Red Riding Hood loved more than anything else is to read! When she wasn’t busy helping her mother or taking good things to eat to her Grandmother’s house – Little Red Riding hood read and read and read.

Because she lived on the outskirts of a large wood and had no brothers or sisters, she sometimes became a little bit lonely. And the more little Red Riding hood read, the more she could imagine all the wonderful characters in her stories were real! A book was her key to explore magical worlds! Little red Riding hood went on lots of imaginary journeys – sometimes she raced with the Gingerbread man, he could run very fast – do you know the rhyme?

‘Run, Run as fast as you can – you can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread man!’

Sometimes little Red Riding hood went to visit her friends the Three Bears – Mummy bear, daddy bear and baby bear – although the dinner was always the same – can you guess what they ate? Yes, porridge! It was their very favourite!

One afternoon, after a family lunch with her mother and Grandmother – Little Red Riding hood wandered out into the garden to read- she leant against a tree and looked at the books she had brought with her. She couldn’t decide which to read so decided that she would try to read them all – that very afternoon! Of course, some of the words were tricky but she looked at all the pictures to help her a little. She read about the frog that turned into a handsome prince. What a magical tale!  Next there was a story about a little girl called Alice who followed a white rabbit (do you know what this story is? – Alice in Wonderland!)  Little Red Riding hood thought that she would like to be Alice’s friend. Lastly, she read story about a beautiful Princess who had a spell cast upon her by a wicked witch and slept for 100 years! Do you know this story? It’s called Sleeping beauty! How Little Red Riding hood wished that all her favourite characters were real!

And without realising, Little Red Riding hood fell fast asleep. Suddenly she was walking through a forest, it was cold and wintry, and she drew her red cloak close around her. There were snowflakes all around and hidden in the trees she could see tiny birds with red tummies. Little Red riding hood felt a little bit scared –but she kept to the path. She looked down and saw some footprints. A sound made her look up! It was the tiny little bird- it sung out and hopped onto a nearby branch, Little Red went towards it – it sung out again and then moved again – it wanted her to follow it!!!

Soon she saw a warmly glowing light in the forest with footprints leading to it! It looked such a lovely place – she couldn’t help but peep in through the windows. Little Red Riding hood couldn’t believe her eyes! In the house were all her favourite fairy tale characters- Snow White was there, Alice In wonderland, the gingerbread man and even the big bad wolf, who up close didn’t look half as naughty as he did in the books! They turned and saw her and invited her to join the party.

Inside the cottage was warm, Little Red Riding hood was shy at first but the fairy tale characters were very kind to her, she feasted on Turkish delight and sat by a warm fire while they all told her their tales. She leaned against the wolf’s fur and found herself drifting off to sleep.

“Little Red! Little Red!” Her mother’s voice called to her, and she woke up in the garden – surrounded by her favourite books.

“ You must have fallen asleep! Come inside it’s time for dessert” said her mother.

“But I’m not hungry at all, In fact – I’m rather full – I had the most wonderful dream!” Explained Little Red. She began to tell her mother all about the cottage in the woods. At first her mother didn’t believe her – but that afternoon when they went for a walk, they saw footprints leading down a pathway that Little Red had seen before. She took her mother by the hand and as they rounded the corner – they saw it! A beautiful little cottage! They peered in through the windows and saw all the things that little Red had told her mother about – there was an apple, left behind by snow white, Cinderella’s glass slipper, and a pastry cutter in the shape of the gingerbread man. But where were her friends?

Suddenly a bird with a red tummy settled on a branch nearby. “They’ve gone back into their books” Said the little bird. “But this cottage is for you – whenever you feel lonely – simply open a book – read the stories about your favourite characters and you will once again be with them in the Enchanted Cottage!”

From then on, Little Red Riding hood continued to read books, but now she shared them with her family – and together they had fun and adventures in the Enchanted cottage. Maybe if you see an Enchanted Cottage in the woods and peep through the windows – you might see her! You never know!

Created for Donatello Restaurant Installation Launch 2016, read by the big man himself!


“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” Philip Pullman.

The bedtime story need not end with attending primary school, secondary school and beyond. Stories are essential. They are a gift that keeps on giving. And if you follow this link you will get a little excerpt from Mr Roald Dahl.


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weaving tales & performance in unexpected places