Charles Perrault (1628—1703)
Perrault, one of several talented brothers who graced the age of Louis XIV, was a scholar, government official, and writer. He lived a life devoid of extraordinary events, except for the celebrated Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns in which he fought a long contest with Boileau and other believers in the superiority of the ancient over the modern writers. Toward the end of his life he wrote eleven fairy tales (published 1697), based on traditional stories.
He was the first to give a literary form to Little Red Riding-Hood, Cinderella, Puss in Boots, TheSleeping Beauty, and half a dozen other household stories, which are destined to last as long as children enjoy fairy tales.
The present version, revised from an early English translation, is reprinted from an anonymously translated edition of the Fairy Tales of Penault, London, no date.
Little Red Riding-Hood
(From Tales of My Mother Goose)
Once upon a time there lived in a certain village a little country girl, the prettiest creature was ever seen. Her mother was excessively fond of her, and her grandmother doted on her still more. This good woman got made for her a little red riding-hood; which became the girl so extremely well that everybody called her Little Red Riding- Hood.
One day her mother, having made some custards, said to her:
“Go, my child, and see how thy grandmamma does, for I hear she has been very ill; carry her a custard, and this little pot of butter.” Little Red Riding-Hood set out immediately to go to her grandmother, who lived in another village.
As she was going through the wood, she met with Gaffer Wolf, who had a very great mind to eat her up, but he durst not, because of some fagot-makers hard by in the forest. He asked her whither she was going. The poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stay and hear a wolf talk, said to him: “lam going to see my grandmamma, and carry her a custard and a little pot of butter from my mamma.”
“Does she live far off?” said the wolf.
“Oh, ay,” answered Little Red Riding-Hood. “It is beyond that mill you see there, at the first house in the village.”
“Well,” said the wolf, “and I’ll go and see her too. I’ll go this way and you go that, and we shall see who will be there soonest.”