Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sketch for Proposed Collection of Fairy Tales
Marker and India Ink


  1. Once upon a time, there lived a little girl who loved her grandmother. This was not so remarkable, because many little girls love their grandmother, except that this little girl had been given a red riding-hood cloak from her grandmother, and the red riding-hood cloak was warm and cozy and soft and smelled of fresh bread and chocolate-chip cookies and apple pie and all things wonderful, and the little girl wore it everywhere she went, and had many adventures in it.

    And as the girl grew to be a young woman, she treasured the cloak, especially after her grandmother died; and sometimes she would take the cloak and scrunch it all up into her face, and smell the wonderful smells, and think of her grandmother, and remember the wonderful adventures of her youth, and her heart would be sad and joyful all at the same time.

    And she longed to have a little girl of her very own who could wear the little red riding-hood and enjoy the smells of fresh bread and chocolate-chip cookies and apple pie and all things wonderful and have many adventures, but the thought of finding a good man to marry was frightening because there were many bad men as well out in that wicked old world and sometimes it was hard to tell the difference. She wished that her grandmother was still around so that they could have a nice heart-to-heart talk about it, and her grandmother could tell her how to find a good man to marry, but her grandmother had long since passed away and there was nothing left of her but memories and the little old house in the woods where her grandmother had lived.

    So the young woman decided on a melancholy whim that she would go out to the little old house in the woods where her grandmother had lived, and sit in the little old rocking chair where her grandmother had sat, and rock back and forth for awhile and try to think of what her grandmother might have told her about finding a good man.

    So she did.

  2. And as she sat in the little rocking chair in the little house out in the woods and thought about what her grandmother might have said to her about finding a good man to marry, there was a knock at the door. She was startled momentarily that someone would be knocking on the door of the little house out in the middle of the woods, far, far away from any town or village or hamlet, but not wanting to be inhospitable, she opened the door. To her surprise, it was a wolf.

    Not an ordinary wolf, of course. This particular wolf looked just like a young man, with curly brown hair and brown eyes and a strong chin beneath a winning smile; and he was strong and tall and handsome. But he was a wolf, nonetheless, for he wandered the world in search of young women to devour.

    "Good day," he said. "May I come in? I would like to talk to you, and learn your name, and tell you how beautiful you are, and flatter you in all sorts of little ways that will melt your heart, and then take you away to my little cave in the deep, dark woods and eat you all up."

    "My! You are very direct, aren't you?" she said. "Is that the way of all wolves?"

    "Yes," he said. "In general, we find it best to get right to the point with modern girls, since everyone is so busy and there is no time to waste."

    "But don't you find that people are a bit put off by being directly told that they're going to be eaten up?

    "On the contrary," the wolf said, "they are so often bored out of their minds in their present circumstance that they welcome a little danger. Indeed, they all fancy themselves well prepared to handle any eventuality, and able to extract themselves from any situation. Of course, they are all wrong."

    "And if they refuse your generous offer?"

    The wolf smiled and pulled a long, thin knife out of his back pocket and began idly trimming his long, sharp nails. "I can be very ... persuasive."

    The young woman's eyes widened. "Yes, I suppose you can."

    "So," said the wolf, "what'll it be?"

    The young women thought for a moment. What would her grandmother do? Then it came to her. She reached above the door and pulled down the shotgun and aimed it directly at the heart of the wolf.

    "Give me your teeth and claws," she said. Frightened, he complied with her request. "Here is the deal. I will go with you, but I will hold onto these for safekeeping. And we will go to your cave in the deep, dark woods, and you will tell me how beautiful I am, and flatter me in all sorts of little ways that will melt my heart, and if you are very good at it, I will give you back your teeth and claws, one at a time. And I will let you scratch me and bite me, but only a little bit. For if you ever hurt me too deeply, I will take this shotgun and blow your brains out. Do you agree?"

    And the wolf, who was practical, after all, agreed. And so they went to his cave in the deep, dark woods and lived for many happy years. Until one day ...