The Wolf's Postcript To 'Little Red Riding Hood'

First, grant me my sense of history:
I did it for posterity,
for kindergarten teachers
and a clear moral:
Little girls shouldn't wander off
in search of strange flowers,
and they mustn't speak to strangers.

And then grant me my generous sense of plot:
Couldn't I have gobbled her up
right there in the jungle?
Why did I ask her where her grandma lived?
As if I, a forest-dweller,
didn't know of the cottage
under the three oak trees
and the old woman lived there
all alone?
As if I couldn't have swallowed her years before?

And you may call me the Big Bad Wolf,
now my only reputation.
But I was no child-molester
though you'll agree she was pretty.

And the huntsman:
Was I sleeping while he snipped
my thick black fur
and filled me with garbage and stones?
I ran with that weight and fell down,
simply so children could laugh
at the noise of the stones
cutting through my belly,
at the garbage spilling out
with a perfect sense of timing,
just when the tale
should have come to an end.

by Agha Shahid Ali

Other poems of ALI (19)

Comments (7)

I read this three times, and each time I liked it better than the time before. This is amazing. I always wondered as a child when I first heard this story why the wolf didn't just eat her right away. I always thought, Man, that was one stupid wolf! Too bad Agha Shahid Ali is not around anymore to explain all the other fairy tales to us!
Its true that perceptions differ quite often from people to people... The poem is an excellent example for the metamorphosis of a human mind and how many varied forms that it can take right from being sturdy serious to lukewarm fun...... Actually I now agree with your story, my story, and the actual story has a lot more to say....
Thinking 'the other way around'- -part of the examined life. MM
............excellent write....was nice hearing the other side of the argument ★
It struck me...who thinks the other way round?who thinks about the next other reason for watsoevr has happened..m still wondering
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