The Wolf and The Kids
I was a very late reader, only learning to read and actually comprehend what I was reading at about age 9. That didn't stop me from trying to read though. It just made me want to read that much more.
More to the point, being such a late reader had its drawbacks. I didn’t really get to read anything other picture books for a while. (which is why I go crazy every time I spy a familiar cover) But when I started picking up books, and reading was no longer an issue, I went straight to chapter books. In a way I missed out on some really good stories and fables that most people take for granted. For instance, I had no idea that at the very end of the Three Little Pigs, the big bad wolf falls down the pig’s chimney and into a pot of boiling water. Stories like that escaped me I suppose. Which is unfortunate, because I had such tendencies towards the macabre. It almost seems unfair I missed out on such an ending.
Which brings me to this strange tale, about a Wolf and the “kids." The story goes that the mama goat leaves her kids at home to go off to the market. Before she leaves, she warns them not to open the door for anyone, especially not the Wicked wolf.
The Wicked wolf does indeed show up on their doorstep, and says coarsely, “Open the door my dear children,” the wolf called in his rough voice. “It is your mother, and she has brought something for each of you.”
But the seven kids heard how rough his voice was and cried, “You are not our mother! Our mother’s voice is soft and sweet, and yours is loud and rough. You are the wicked wolf! GO AWAY!”
The Wolf gave this some thought, so he went home and gulped a great big pot of Honey. He rushed back and knocked again. “Open the door my dear children,” the wolf called in his new sweet voice. “It is your mother, and she has brought something for each of you.” After hearing how sweetly he spoke, they almost opened the door; that is until they saw his big black wolf’s paw lying against the window pane. “You are not our mother!” they cried. “Our mother’s paw is white, and yours is black! You are the Wicked Wolf! GO AWAY!”
So the Wicked wolf went over to the baker and said, “Cover my paws with white flour, or I will eat you up.” Well no one wants to be eaten, so the trembling baker did as he was told, and the wolf ran back and knocked on the door for the third time.
“Open the door, my children,” he said sweetly laying his new white paw against the window pane. “It is your mother, and she has brought something for each of you.” The seven kids heard the sweet voice and saw the nice white paw and opened the door joyously only to discover, to their horror, stood the Wicked Wolf! The seven little kids ran to hide but the Wicked Wolf found them soon enough. All but the youngest, who hid in a grandfather clock.
When the mother goat came home to find the door wide open and the house in disarray, she called for her children one by one, but only one answered and he told his mother how the wolf had tricked them all.
The mother goat set out to find the Wolf, and soon she came upon him, snoring beneath a shady tree. She saw something moving inside him!
“Now each of you bring a big stone from the river bank,” said the mother goat.
So the little kids dragged up six heavy stones, and the mother goat filled the wolf’s empty stomach with them, and neatly sewed it shut.
The story was adapted from a german fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm entitled The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids. Later, in Richard Scarry's golden book version, Scarry changes a few things to make it age appropriate. Instead of the wolf eating the children, he places them into a sack and takes them into the woods where the mother cuts the sack open and replaces the children with stones.