a red cape hanging from a tree in a deserted forest

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A young girl, Little Red Riding Hood, sets off through the woods to visit her sick grandmother. Along the way, she meets a wolf. The wolf rushes ahead of her to her grandmothers home, where he impersonates Little Red Riding Hood to gain access. The wolf eats the grandmother. When Red arrives, the wolf pretends to be her grandmother and eats her too.

Earlier versions end the tale here. No happily-ever-after for Red or her grandmother. Recent versions, including the version by the Brothers Grimm, have Red and her grandmother survive and defeat the wolf.

In the Brothers Grimm version, a huntsman kills the wolf and frees Red and her grandmother. It then tells a brief tale of another trip through the woods resulting in Red and her grandmother besting a wolf on their own.

RED Writing Practice

Herded Words is all about improving your story writing. Find writing practice exercises using the RED story as inspiration here:

Past vs Present TenseA comparison of past vs present tense including modern fiction examples. Which is right for your novel?
Past TenseWriting a story in past tense is most common in genre fiction. Learn about 5 times to choose past tense.
Present TensePresent tense happens now. Check out 5 times it’s the best choice for your novel.
Comparing Point of ViewA comparison of point of view in literature (first, third limited, and omniscient) including modern fiction examples. Which is right for your novel?
First Person Point of ViewMe, myself, and I are examples of first person point of view. Check out five times you should use first POV for your novel.
Third Person Limited Point of ViewShe, himself and them are examples of third person limited. Learn 4 times you should use 3rd limited for your book.
Omniscient Point of ViewOmniscient point of view is all knowing. Learn 5 times to use it in your story.
Guide to PlotLearn the 5 key plot points of every story.
the HookThe hook is the opening of your story. Learn the four elements of a hook.
the ExpositionNail your exposition period with these 5 techniques.
the Inciting IncidentMaster the inciting incident with these 4 essential elements.
Rising ActionThe rising action is the period between the inciting incident and climax. Learn how to nail your rising action with these 4 elements.
the ClimaxThese 4 elements will make your climax unforgettable!
Falling ActionThe falling action is an important part of your novel. Get it right with these 4 must-have elements.
ResolutionWhat’s the purpose of the resolution? Find out and see if you should skip it.
SubplotsWhat is a subplot and how do you add one? Learn three popular types and three common methods for adding subplots to a story.
Essential Character TypesThese are the 6 must-have characters for any novel: protagonist, antagonist, sidekick, skeptic, mentor, and love interest. Learn why with modern examples.
the Main CharacterLearn the 3 required qualities of main character with modern fiction examples.
the AntagonistLearn the 4 types of antagonists, get 5 tips for writing an antagonist, and see modern fiction examples.
the SidekickLearn the 4 qualities of every sidekick, 7 roles your sidekick can play, and see modern examples.
the Love InterestLearn the five loving qualities of a love interest and see modern examples.
the MentorLearn the 8 mentor qualities & see modern fiction examples.
the SkepticLearn the importance of the skeptic character and their two roles. Plus, see modern fiction examples.
Secondary CharactersEvery novel needs more secondary characters than just the essential ones. Learn the six roles of secondary characters with modern examples.
Minor Characters & ExtrasA story world is filled with minor characters and extras. Learn their four jobs and see modern examples.
Character RelationshipsLearn the 8 relationship types and why your novel needs them all. Plus, see modern examples.
DialogueLearn how to write dialogue with these 6 tips and tricks.
Dialogue TagsLearn why “___ said” is the best dialogue tag you can use (plus breakdowns of modern fiction).
Show & Tell“Show don’t tell” is bad advice. Learn why you need to show AND tell in your story (plus tips to help you improve your showing).
Women in FictionLearn how to write fully developed female characters by avoiding common (and harmful) tropes.
the First ChapterYour first chapter is one of the most important. Learn 5 must-have elements of the first chapter.
three gnomes wearing red hats and outfits

Modern Adaptations of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

The LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD fairy tale has been widely adapted into comics, film, literature, toys, games, art, etc., Wikipedia is home to a fairly comprehensive list of adaptations. Below you’ll find 5 modern adaptations of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD (3 literature, 2 film).


By James Finn Garner

The cover for the book Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, a modern Little Red Riding Hood adaptation.
Buy it on Amazon.

Originally published in 1994, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories spent more than 60 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list, eventually hitting the #1 spot. Also a best seller in Canada and Great Britain, it has been translated into more than 25 languages and adapted numberless times for stage and radio. According to the Times of London: “It is beautiful. It demolishes, in few but elegant words, a dozen kinds of silliness. It is better than I can possibly convey.”

From Cinderella rejecting unrealistic ideas of feminine beauty, to the Three Little Pigs arming themselves and overthrowing their imperialist wolf oppressors, all right-minded people will feel comfortable reading these enlightened versions to their little pre-adults.


By Marissa Meyer

The cover for the novel Scarlet, a modern Little Red Riding Hood adaptation.
Buy the book from Amazon.

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in SCARLET, the second thrilling installment of Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.


By Two Sisters

The cover for the book Dark & Darker Faerie Tales, a modern Little Red Riding Hood adaptation.
Buy the book from Amazon.


Are you bored of kind and selfless fairies? Do the words ‘and they all lived happily ever after’ make you yawn? Inspired by Brothers Grimm and other sinister tales, Dark & Darker Faerie Tales is a collection of dark stories about evil faeries, corrupted heroes, vengeful innocents and malicious monsters. Delving into the darker side of fairy tales, each story offers a twisted journey that’ll make you wish for a happy ending.

Written and illustrated by Two Sisters, witness an unlikely friendship in “The Woodcutter and The Oak Tree,” discover what happens next to Little Red Riding Hood, and learn why it’s so important to be wary of who you meet in the woods.


Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures

The poster for the movie Red Riding Hood, a modern Little Red Riding Hood adaptation.
Buy it from Amazon.

RED RIDING HOOD is set in a medieval village. A beautiful young girl falls for an orphaned woodcutter, much to her family’s displeasure. When her sister is killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village, the people call on a famed werewolf hunter to help them kill the wolf. As the death toll rises with each moon, the girl begins to suspect that the werewolf could be someone she loves. Panic grips the town as she discovers that she has a unique connection to the beast–one that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect…and bait.


Distributed by Walt Disney Motion Pictures

The cover for Into the Woods, a modern Little Red Riding Hood adaptation.
Buy it from Amazon.

From the director of CHICAGO and the producer of WICKED comes INTO THE WOODS, a modern twist on the beloved fairy tales you thought you knew. Meryl Streep stars in this epic musical saga about daring to venture INTO THE WOODS. Iconic characters, such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel, find their fates intertwined with a humble baker and his wife, whose longing to have a child sends them on a quest to reverse a witch’s (Streep) curse. With an all-star cast, this spellbinding adventure is everything you could ever wish for.

a woman in a red cape in a forest

Grimms’ Fairy Tale: RED

The Grimm’s Fairy Tales are a collection of fairy tales by Jakob & Wilhelm Grimm. The original publication, released in 1812, contained 86 stories. The seventh edition, released in 1857, contained 211 unique fairy tales.

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Grimms’ Fairy Tales contains 62 stories. 


Once upon a time there was a dear little girl who was loved by everyone who looked at her, but most of all by her grandmother, and there was nothing that she would not have given to the child. Once she gave her a little cap of red velvet, which suited her so well that she would never wear anything else; so she was always called ‘Little Red-Cap.’

One day her mother said to her: ‘Come, Little Red-Cap, here is a piece of cake and a bottle of wine; take them to your grandmother, she is ill and weak, and they will do her good. Set out before it gets hot, and when you are going, walk nicely and quietly and do not run off the path, or you may fall and break the bottle, and then your grandmother will get nothing; and when you go into her room, don’t forget to say, “Good morning”, and don’t peep into every corner before you do it.’

‘I will take great care,’ said Little Red-Cap to her mother, and gave her hand on it.

The grandmother lived out in the wood, half a league from the village, and just as Little Red-Cap entered the wood, a wolf met her. Red-Cap did not know what a wicked creature he was, and was not at all afraid of him.

‘Good day, Little Red-Cap,’ said he.

‘Thank you kindly, wolf.’

‘Whither away so early, Little Red-Cap?’

‘To my grandmother’s.’

‘What have you got in your apron?’

‘Cake and wine; yesterday was baking-day, so poor sick grandmother is to have something good, to make her stronger.’

‘Where does your grandmother live, Little Red-Cap?’

‘A good quarter of a league farther on in the wood; her house stands under the three large oak-trees, the nut-trees are just below; you surely must know it,’ replied Little Red-Cap.

The wolf thought to himself: ‘What a tender young creature! what a nice plump mouthful—she will be better to eat than the old woman. I must act craftily, so as to catch both.’ So he walked for a short time by the side of Little Red-Cap, and then he said: ‘See, Little Red-Cap, how pretty the flowers are about here—why do you not look round? I believe, too, that you do not hear how sweetly the little birds are singing; you walk gravely along as if you were going to school, while everything else out here in the wood is merry.’

Little Red-Cap raised her eyes, and when she saw the sunbeams dancing here and there through the trees, and pretty flowers growing everywhere, she thought: ‘Suppose I take grandmother a fresh nosegay; that would please her too. It is so early in the day that I shall still get there in good time’; and so she ran from the path into the wood to look for flowers. And whenever she had picked one, she fancied that she saw a still prettier one farther on, and ran after it, and so got deeper and deeper into the wood.

Meanwhile the wolf ran straight to the grandmother’s house and knocked at the door.

‘Who is there?’

‘Little Red-Cap,’ replied the wolf. ‘She is bringing cake and wine; open the door.’

‘Lift the latch,’ called out the grandmother, ‘I am too weak, and cannot get up.’

The wolf lifted the latch, the door sprang open, and without saying a word he went straight to the grandmother’s bed, and devoured her. Then he put on her clothes, dressed himself in her cap laid himself in bed and drew the curtains.

Little Red-Cap, however, had been running about picking flowers, and when she had gathered so many that she could carry no more, she remembered her grandmother, and set out on the way to her.

She was surprised to find the cottage-door standing open, and when she went into the room, she had such a strange feeling that she said to herself: ‘Oh dear! how uneasy I feel today, and at other times I like being with grandmother so much.’ She called out: ‘Good morning,’ but received no answer; so she went to the bed and drew back the curtains. There lay her grandmother with her cap pulled far over her face, and looking very strange.

‘Oh! grandmother,’ she said, ‘what big ears you have!’

‘The better to hear you with, my child,’ was the reply.

‘But, grandmother, what big eyes you have!’ she said.

‘The better to see you with, my dear.’

‘But, grandmother, what large hands you have!’

‘The better to hug you with.’

‘Oh! but, grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have!’

‘The better to eat you with!’

And scarcely had the wolf said this, than with one bound he was out of bed and swallowed up Red-Cap.

When the wolf had appeased his appetite, he lay down again in the bed, fell asleep and began to snore very loud. The huntsman was just passing the house, and thought to himself: ‘How the old woman is snoring! I must just see if she wants anything.’ So he went into the room, and when he came to the bed, he saw that the wolf was lying in it. ‘Do I find you here, you old sinner!’ said he. ‘I have long sought you!’ Then just as he was going to fire at him, it occurred to him that the wolf might have devoured the grandmother, and that she might still be saved, so he did not fire, but took a pair of scissors, and began to cut open the stomach of the sleeping wolf. When he had made two snips, he saw the little Red-Cap shining, and then he made two snips more, and the little girl sprang out, crying: ‘Ah, how frightened I have been! How dark it was inside the wolf’; and after that the aged grandmother came out alive also, but scarcely able to breathe. Red-Cap, however, quickly fetched great stones with which they filled the wolf’s belly, and when he awoke, he wanted to run away, but the stones were so heavy that he collapsed at once, and fell dead.

Then all three were delighted. The huntsman drew off the wolf’s skin and went home with it; the grandmother ate the cake and drank the wine which Red-Cap had brought, and revived, but Red-Cap thought to herself: ‘As long as I live, I will never by myself leave the path, to run into the wood, when my mother has forbidden me to do so.’

It also related that once when Red-Cap was again taking cakes to the old grandmother, another wolf spoke to her, and tried to entice her from the path. Red-Cap, however, was on her guard, and went straight forward on her way, and told her grandmother that she had met the wolf, and that he had said ‘good morning’ to her, but with such a wicked look in his eyes, that if they had not been on the public road she was certain he would have eaten her up. ‘Well,’ said the grandmother, ‘we will shut the door, that he may not come in.’ Soon afterwards the wolf knocked, and cried: ‘Open the door, grandmother, I am Little Red-Cap, and am bringing you some cakes.’ But they did not speak, or open the door, so the grey-beard stole twice or thrice round the house, and at last jumped on the roof, intending to wait until Red-Cap went home in the evening, and then to steal after her and devour her in the darkness. But the grandmother saw what was in his thoughts. In front of the house was a great stone trough, so she said to the child: ‘Take the pail, Red-Cap; I made some sausages yesterday, so carry the water in which I boiled them to the trough.’ Red-Cap carried until the great trough was quite full. Then the smell of the sausages reached the wolf, and he sniffed and peeped down, and at last stretched out his neck so far that he could no longer keep his footing and began to slip, and slipped down from the roof straight into the great trough, and was drowned. But Red-Cap went joyously home, and no one ever did anything to harm her again.


Share Your RED Story

Pin This: Fairytale Examination of LITTLE RED (RED has been inspiring storytellers for centuries. See 5 modern adaptations, get a Little Red Riding Hood summary, get the full Grimm version of the story, and use RED as inspiration for your work)

The LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD story has been inspiring storytellers for centuries. What’s your favorite adaptation?

Have you ever written (or considered writing) a LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD adaptation?

Happy Writing,

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