Once upon a time, there was a child who was loved by everyone who looked at them, but most of all, by their grandfather. A few years after the child’s birth, he gave them a little cap of green velvet, which suited them so well that they refused to wear anything else; so they were always called “Little Green-Cap.”
One day, Little Green Cap’s father said, “Little Green-Cap, take this bottle of milk and piece of cake to your grandfather, because he is ill and weak, and they will do him good. Stay on the path in the forest so that you don’t fall and break the bottle.”
“I’ll be careful!” said Little Green-Cap, taking the basket of goodies from their father.
The grandfather lived half a league from the village, so Little Green-Cap walked for a time. And then for a long time. And then for a very long time. Still, the forest path stretched ahead.
Some nearby branches rustled, and a wolf stepped out in front of them. Green-Cap didn’t know what a wicked creature she was, so they weren’t afraid of her.
“Good day, Little Green-Cap,” the wolf said.
“Where are you going?”
“To my grandfather’s.”
“What have you got in the basket?”
“Cake and milk. Yesterday was baking day, so I’m bringing Grandfather a treat.”
“Where does your grandfather live?”
“Further down this path. His house stands under three large oak trees.”
The wolf thought to herself, Why should I be satisfied with one plump mouthful when I could have two?
So she walked for a while next to Little Green-Cap, and then said, “Look how pretty those flowers are!”
Little Green-Cap looked beyond the path and saw the sunbeams dancing through the trees and pretty flowers growing everywhere. They thought, I should bring grandfather a bouquet! That would cheer him up. So they ran from the path into the wood to pick the flowers. But whenever they had picked one, they saw an even prettier one farther on, and ran after it, and so got deeper and deeper into the wood.
Meanwhile, the wolf ran straight to the grandfather’s house and knocked at the door.
“Who is there?”
“Little Green-Cap,” replied the wolf. “I’ve brought you a surprise.”
The wolf did, went straight to the grandfather’s bed and devoured him. Then she put on his clothes, dressed herself in his cap, laid herself in bed, and drew the curtains.
Meanwhile, Little Green-Cap had gathered as many flowers as they could carry. When they arrived at the cottage, they were surprised to find the cottage door standing open.
They called out, “Helloo! Grandfather?” But there was no answer, so they went to the bed and drew back the curtains. Their grandfather lay in bed with his cap pulled low over his face, and he looked very strange.
“Oh! Grandfather,” Green-Cap said, “what big ears you have!”
“The better to hear you with, my child.”
“And what big eyes you have!”
“The better to see you with, my dear.”
“And what large hands you have!”
“The better to hug you with.”
“And what a terrible big mouth you have!”
“The better to eat you with!”
As soon as the wolf said this, she bounded out of the bed and swallowed up Green-Cap in one big bite.
Satisfied, the wolf fell asleep and snored loudly—so loudly, in fact, that a huntress who had been passing by stopped to look in. When she came to the bed, she saw the enormous wolf lying upon it. It was the very wolf she had been hunting for days! The large bulge in the wolf’s belly made her wonder if the wolf had eaten whoever lived in this cottage. So the huntress took a pair of scissors and cut open the wolf’s stomach.
Snip, snip! The huntress spied a little green cap.
Snip, snip! The child sprang out, crying, “Oh, how dark it was inside the wolf!”
Snip, snip! The grandfather came tumbling out.
Little Green-Cap quickly fetched several big stones, and they filled the wolf’s belly. When the wolf awoke, the stones were so heavy that she collapsed and died.
The huntress skinned the wolf and took it home. The grandfather ate the cake and drank the milk. And Green-Cap thought to themself, I will never leave the path and run into the woods when my father has warned me not to.
A week later, Green-Cap brought their grandfather cakes again. On the way, another wolf spoke to them and tried to lure them from the path. Green-Cap, however, went straight on their way and told their grandfather about the wolf.
“Well,” said Grandfather, “we will shut the door, that she may not come in.”
Soon afterwards, the wolf knocked and said, “Open the door, Grandfather. I am Little Green-Cap, here to bring you some cakes.”
But they didn’t speak or open the door, so the wolf jumped on the roof, intending to wait until Green-Cap went home in the evening to follow them. But the grandfather heard the wolf and guessed what she intended.
There was a big stone trough in front of the house, so he said to the child, “Take a pale and carry the water, in which I boiled sausages yesterday, to the trough.”
Green-Cap carried water until the trough was quite full. Then the smell of the sausages reached the wolf, and she sniffed and peeped down, stretching out her neck so far that she lost her balance. She slipped down from the roof, straight into the trough, and drowned. But Green-Cap happily went home, and no one ever did anything to harm them again.
This fairy tale is a retelling, by A.E. Alexander, of “Little Red-Cap” by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. To read more Gender-Swapped Fairy Tales, visit here.