Moving right along with the Grimm brothers, today’s tale is The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids. Wolves, apparently, are very popular in fairy tales.
Once upon a time there was an old mother goat who had seven little kids whom she loved dearly. One day, she wanted to go into the forest to get food so gathered all her children and gave them clear instructions.
“Guard yourselves against the wolf because if he gets in he’ll eat you all up. You’ll know him by his rough voice and black feet,” she told her kids.
“Don’t worry! We’ll be fine!” the kids replied confidently. So the mother goat trotted off, leaving her kids at home.
Soon, the kids heard a knock at the door, and a rough voice calling, “Open the door! It’s me, your mother!” But the kids were not fooled.
“You aren’t our mother, you’re the wolf! We can tell by your rough voice!” they called. The wolf slunk away but went to the store and bought a big lump of chalk. He ate the chalk and his voice was soft, so again he went to the house and called “Open the door! It’s me, your mother!” But the kids were not fooled, as they could see his black feet through the window.
“You aren’t our mother, you’re the wolf! We can tell by your black paws!” they called. The wolf ran back to town and went to a baker to rub his feet in dough. Then he went to the Miller, to get white meal dusted over his feet. At first, the Miller refused, knowing the wolf was likely up to No Good. But the wolf threatened him, and the Miller, scared, agreed. (according to the brothers Grimm, “Yes that’s how people are“).
The wolf went back and again implored, “Open the door! It’s your mother!” This time, the kids were fooled, as they heard no rough voice and saw no black feet. They opened the door and the wolf bounded it. The terrified kids leapt about, scrambling for hiding spots all over the house. The wolf found and swallowed six of them whole, but he did not find the youngest, hidden in the clock-case.
The wolf, haven consumed six kids, was full and went to rest and digest in a meadow by a tree. He soon fell fast asleep.
The mother goat returned from her expedition into the forest and was very alarmed to see the door wide open and furniture knocked about and the place in chaos. She called each of her children’s names, but no one answered until she called the youngest.
“I’m in the clock-case, mama!” the youngest cried, and the mother goat fetched him out and told her all about what had happened. The mother goat was very sad and wept over her dear children. Eventually, the mother goat went out, and the youngest with her. They came upon the meadow where the wolf lay by the tree. The wolf was fast asleep, snoring so loud that the branches shook.
The mother goat saw the wolf’s belly moving and thought that her poor children might still be alive. The youngest kid ran home to fetch scissors and thread for his mama. Then the mother goat cut open the wolf’s stomach and a kid’s head popped out, very much alive. She made the cut bigger and all her lost children sprang out of the wolf’s belly in a joyful reunion!
The wolf remained fast asleep.
The mother goat, craftily asked her kids to fetch some large stones, which she carefully placed in the wolf’s belly and sewed him back up. Then she took her kids home.
The wolf slept on for some time, until at last he woke with a great thirst. He got up and trundled over to the well, the stones in his belly knocking about horribly. When the wolf got the well, he bent over to drink but the heavy stones overbalanced the wolf and he fell in. The wolf drowned and the goats saw and rejoiced again.
The lesson of the story? Don’t be dumb, children, listen to your mother. Another lesson: the bad guys get their comeuppance. Also: maybe hire a babysitter.
I find it very amusing that the wolf SLEPT through having his STOMACH CUT OPEN and then filled with stones and SEWN BACK UP. I’m powerful impressed – those kids must have been covered with something to knock him out like that, don’t you think?
As to the ending – What a ruin of a perfectly good well.