1.04 Little red riding hood

After a short while of walking, the forest got darker and The Wandelgek tried to follow the narrow wood trail, but it was overgrown by dark, green, creepy plants and at one moment he thought he saw poison ivy growing, creeping, slithering at his feet, but it was too dark to really see. He struggled on through the damp forest and then he saw the trail splitting in two directions. So he grabbed his map, but it was way to dark to see where he was located…

Suddenly the canopy opened a bit and right in the middle of a beautiful sunbeam, she stood. Little Red Riding Hood, and she was mesmerizing; enchanting The Wandelgek for a short moment. He walked towards her making and keeping eye contact with this magical Sirene of the forest. Then he asked: “Could you please tell me which of these trails leads into safety and out of the darkness?”.

“Of course I can she said, that’s the whole point of me being here”. Her voice was like the chiming of several thousands of tiny bells and at that short moment she could have told me everything and I would have believed it without questioning, without thinking. Just nodding at her like a sheep. She continued: “Of course I can, that is why I exist”. I just kept nodding sheepishly. She continued in a soft voice: “Of you go”… I stayed… and nodded, staring deep into her wonderous eyes…

“Of you go!”. It was at first hardly noticeable, but het voice had sounded a little bit irritated. I still kept nodding and answered her with an intellectual reply, sounding a bit like: “Urmphhh???…”.

“Oh commoooonnnn!” she sighed just a tiny fraction more agitated and after I still just kept nodding and uttering more gibberish like “Mmmmpfrrrbbbblll” and “ehrrrrmm???”, she suddenly stopped chiming like a thousand tiny bells, uttering some curses I do not dare to repeat here (after all this is a fairy tale which you could be reading to your children right now), and then her blisful ears seemed to grow a tiny bit and turned red, she opened her graceful eyes just an inch to wide and finally with an attempt to unsuccesfully hide her growing outrage of my impertinent behavior, started pointing down at her feet and gradually awakening from the enchantment, I looked down…

“Ah …. yes…” I started to understand her after all. She was there to point me and other travellers in the right direction! Awoken from my half dream state, I looked back at her and asked: “I didn’t notice this before, but why do you have the uncommonly large pointed ears and if I might say so, why do you look at me with those preposterously large eyes?”.

Then she leaned towards me and she opened her exquisite red lips just a wee bit to much, showing me the gaping abyss of her unusually large mouth and I stared into the profound chasm of her deep throat, while she uttered her last sweet words:

“SOD OFF !!!”

… and before I could even start thinking about asking her where she had gotten that unusually large mouth from, she showed me her middle finger. Her rage finally escaped!

I withdrew and started following the trail, she had so … ehm… intensely directed me towards.

After a while I walked alone again through the dreary, macabre forest and I started to slow down a lot, hearing all these creepy, eerie sounds coming from all directions.

I started to get into a nightmarish mood and somewhere on the trail I thought I heard a girl’s grisly screams, coming from a lage tree that could have been a tower too…

But I was too frightened to go in that direction, which would have meant leaving the trail and most likely getting lost forever. So I kept following the path wondering whether the girl in the single sunbeam had pointed me towards safety. I also started to rethink what had happened, thinking it quite strange to see this one beautiful sunbeam in the middle of this ghastly environment. Then, when I felt so miserable that I thought I’d never ever recover from this, I saw a light on the trail straight ahead and it was a similar light as that which had touched the red riding hood girl. A strange sunlight coming from the canopy, but now much larger. In the middle was a small wooden house and in this light, the house was quite tempting, looking inviting, welcoming, comforting and like a safe haven surrounded by a dangerous cold, dark, wet world, infested with tentacled and maybe red eyed creatures, all wanting to have a piece of mine. Just before I reached the house I saw a light approaching me from behind and I saw the red riding hood girl, dancing while running in that sunbeam, that never left her. I didn’t like that and I decided to hide in the bushes and let her pass. She danced, passing me unnoticed and she was laughing aloud. But it wasn’t a very pleasant laugh at all. Rather a mean and gruesome kind of laugh of someone full of mishievous plans.

After she had reached the house, she rang the door bell and it opened and I distictly heard her laughingly ask: “How was your diner dear?”…

But her laughing abruptly stopped and now I heard a fumbled scream when the door was violently shut. I waited for a few minutes, but then my curiosity grew on me and …

I left my hiding place and I sneaked towards the house and peeked through its window and immediately my heart froze…

Inside in bed I distinctively saw a wolf!!! And there was no trace of red riding hood in the room. The wolf licked his lips though and I could imagine what had happened…. He ate her!!!Behind me through the forest I heard a noise of quickly approaching footsteps and I looked for a sunbeam accompanying them but instead I saw a hunter bearing a large rifle, panting a bit because he had clearly been running.

“Have you seen him …Pfff…pfff…pfff?” he asked. I asked him “Who?”. “The wolf … pfff….pfff naturally… pfff!” he answered. I started to answer but suddenly I remembered that sentence on the doorstep, that question: “How was diner dear?” and that mean, laugh, feeling as cold as a grave stone and suddenly I realized that she meant me. I was diner! She had not pointed me towards safety, but towards that hungry wolf, knowing he would have eaten me and knowing he would not be hungry anymore making it safe for her to return home again. Return to her satisfied partner…

“Well??? Have you seen him… pfff…ppfff… or haven’t you …Pfff…pfff…pfff?” he asked again. And in a moment I decided and answered:

“Yes I did!!”. I could maybe still save that little girl. The hunter would have to enter the house, shoot the wolf and cut his belly wide open and she would jump out, just in time, before the belly juices of the wolf would have damaged her unnatural beauty…

“YES I DID!!!”, I now almost yelled of excitement and the hunter looked at me and inquired: “Where?”. He grabbed his rifle and his large sharp knife and started to look passed me towards the house.

Then I answered: He ran straight ahead just a few minutes ago, before you arrived, hunting this poor little girl, running for her life. Straight ahead deep into that forest overthere. She left the trail in a frenzy and I’m afraid she could not outrun him.

He didn’t say a thing, but promptly turned and ran, leaving the trail, straight into the forest and into the directions I had pointed at. After a minute he was completely gone and it was very quiet again. The the door of the house opened and a growling, but friendly sounding voice asked: “Why the hell did you do that?”. I shrugged my shoulders. The Wolf now opened the door wide and invited me in and offered me to stay the night and eat Lemon Cheese cake and sleep in a soft and warm bed.

I hear you ask: “So what did you eventually answer that wolf, after he would ask again: “Why did you do that?””. Well after I could think about all that had happened and after a wonderful Lemon Cheese Cake meal, I decided to not tell him about the meeting with Red riding hood at all. Instead I answered that I thought it important that more wolves needed to visit my country, how they had gotten extinct for decades and how Environmental organisations like “Natuurmonumenten” and “Staatsbosbeheer” were trying to change the environment and make the Netherlands more accessible and suitable for wolves and how I was a very strong advocate in favor of complete protection of wolves in my country. After drinking the 3rd pint of some sort of brown ale I even declared that The Efteling should be a national park, harbouring all these extinct or almost extinct animals like wolves, and dragons and chinese nightingales and he looked so pleased that he offered me yet another large piece of lemon cheese cake and another pint of dark ale and for a short moment I thought I saw a tear glistening in the corner of his left eye…

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