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AN INTERVIEW WITH RED RIDING HOOD, NOW NO LONGER LITTLE / Agha Shahid AU "How dark it was inside the wolf!" —Red Riding Hood in Grimms Q. Whatever happened after the wolf died? A. My father, a self-made man, he made good. Mind you, no ordinary woodsman, he slowly bought the whole forest, had it combed for wolves. Had it cut down. But the wolves escaped, like guerillas, into the mountains. He owns a timber industry. I, of course, am an heiress. Q. And your grandma? A. She had nightmares. She'd wake up crying, "Wolf! Wolf!" We had to put her in a home. I took her baskets of fruit, flowers, cakes, wines. Always in the red velvet cap. I got sick of lisping for her, "Grandma, what big eyes you have!" That always made her laugh. The last time I saw her, she cried, "Save me, he's coming to eat me up!' We gave her a quiet burial. 22 · The Missouri Review Q. Do you have any regrets? A. Yes. I lied when I said it was dark. Now I drive through the city, hearing wolves at every turn. How warm it was inside the wolf! Agha Shahid AU The Missouri Review · 23 THE WOLF'S POSTSCRIPT TO "LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD" / Agha Shahid AU 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 is search of strange flowers, and they musn'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 who 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 fhe 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. 24 · The Missouri Review ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 22-24
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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