Editor's Note: Most of us probably grew up having fairy tales read to us as we drifted off to sleep. But how many times have you thought back and realized just how, well, grim some of them are? Did any of them ever make your rest a little bit uneasy? Have you ever wondered what those same fairy tales might sound like if the hapless Red Riding Hoods, Hansels and Gretels had been taught about gun safety and how to use firearms? The author of this piece, Amelia Hamilton has—and NRA Family is proud to announce that we’ve partnered with the author to present her twist on those classic tales. We hope you and your children enjoy this first installment!
Once upon a time, there was a young lady who lived with her parents at the edge of a wood. Her mother made her a riding cloak of red velvet, which she wore all winter long, so the people in her village called her Little Red Riding Hood.
One New Year’s day, Red awoke to learn that her grandmother wasn’t feeling well. She and her mother put together a basket of food to bring through the woods to her cottage, which lay on the other side.
Red loved the woods, and was happy to walk through them. Usually, there would only be the sunlight and the squirrels, but there was a dark side to the wood. There were shadows, there were beasts, and there could be danger. One birthday not long ago, Red was given her very own rifle and lessons on how to use it—just in case—to be sure that she would always be safe. So, with a kiss from her mother, rifle over her shoulder and a basket for her Grandmother in her hands, Red took a deep breath and entered the woods.
With a shiver, she burrowed into her cloak, her breath making clouds in the frozen air. Deep into the woods Red went, playing a game with herself to see how many animal footprints she could recognize in the snow. “Deer,” she quietly said to herself, “squirrel.” She turned as another set of footprints caught her eye, and gasped. Those footprints cast in snow were undeniably the tracks of a wolf. They were fresh, so Red knew the wolf couldn't have gotten far. Red felt the reassuring weight of the rifle on her shoulder and continued down the path, scanning the trees, knowing that their shadows could provide a hiding place. She continued down the path step by cautious step until she saw him. Their eyes met. Red had known he was there but, seeing the glint in his eye and his terrible smile, her heart skipped a beat. This was the biggest, baddest wolf Red had ever seen. His wolfish smile disappeared for a moment when his eyes fell on her rifle. He stayed in the shelter of the trees as he called out to her.
“Hello there,” he tried to sound friendly, but Red knew that this wolf could not be trusted. She responded with a polite “hello,” and kept on her way, staying aware of his location, but never meeting his eyes.
“Where are you going all alone?” The wolf tried to keep her talking, tried to convince her he was a friendly wolf, tried to get this young girl within the range of his snapping jaws.
“I don’t talk to strangers,” Red replied, never straying from her path.
The wolf followed along, staying in the shelter of the trees, trying to get Red to respond. As she grew increasingly uncomfortable, she shifted her rifle so that it was in her hands and at the ready. The wolf became frightened and ran away.
As the time passed in the woods, Red began to relax, but stayed aware. She stopped in her favorite meadow to rest, where she took a long drink of water and wove together evergreen boughs to bring a winter bouquet to her grandmother. When she felt refreshed, Red continued down her snowy path.
While Red was resting in the forest meadow, her Grandmother was surprised by a knock at the door. Red must have gotten through the forest very quickly, she thought. But, when she opened the door, she found herself face to face with a wolf. The very Wolf that Red had met in the woods.
Grandma had heard of this wolf before; the hunters had spoken of him.
This was not just any wolf.
This was the most horrible wolf in the forest.
This was The Big Bad Wolf.
Taking Grandmother by surprise, the wolf easily pushed past her and into her cottage. Grandmother turned so she was face-to-face with the wolf inside her cottage.
“What big eyes you have,” Grandma gasped as she backed away.
“The better to see you with,” replied the wolf.
“What big ears you have,” She turned, with her back to the door.
“The better to hear you with,” the wolf said, coming ever closer.
“What big teeth you have!” Grandma said, as his fierce jaws came near.
“The better to eat you with!” the wolf threatened.
The wolf leaned in, jaws open wide, then stopped suddenly. Those big ears heard the unmistakable sound of a shotgun’s safety being clicked off. Those big eyes looked down and saw that grandma had a scattergun aimed right at him. He realized that Grandmother hadn’t been backing away from him; she had been moving towards her shotgun to protect herself and her home.
“I don't think I’ll be eaten today,” said Grandma, “and you won't be eating anyone again.” Grandma kept her gun trained on the wolf, who was too scared to move. Before long, he heard a familiar voice call “Grandmother, I’m here!” Red peeked her head in the door. The wolf couldn’t believe his luck—he had come across two capable ladies in the same day, and they were related! Oh, how he hated when families learned how to protect themselves.
Red was as surprised as the wolf, for she had not thought she would see him again, and certainly not at her Grandmother's house. “Grandmother!” she cried, “Are you all right?”
“Of course, dear,” Grandma replied, soothing her granddaughter, “Now, let’s get this wolf tied up.”
Red worked quickly, tying the wolf so that he could not harm them. As they finished their work, they heard the call of a huntsman outside. He had followed the tracks of the big bad wolf to Grandmother’s door, and had thought she might need to be rescued. Looking beyond Red into the cottage, he saw that they had already rescued themselves. The huntsman took the wolf away, leaving Red and her grandmother alone at last. They embraced, hugging each other tightly, relieved that the wolf was gone.
As they slowly began to feel calm, Red got her grandmother chicken soup and a cup of tea. They sat in companionable silence, happy in the security that comes with knowing they could defend themselves. That New Year’s day, Red and her Grandmother had enough excitement to last the year through.
And they all lived safely ever after (except the wolf, but that is a story for another day).
About the author: Amelia Hamilton, a conservative blogger and author of the Growing Patriots series of children’s books, is a lifelong writer and patriot. She has a master’s degree in both English and 18th-century history from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and a postgraduate diploma in fine and decorative arts from Christie’s London. Her labrador, Virgil, can usually be found at her side. You can visit her website here.