Most worthy of praise were the virtuous ways
Of Little Red Riding Hood's ma,
And no one was ever more cautious and clever
Than Little Red Riding Hood's pa.
They never misled, for they meant what they said,
And frequently said what they meant:
They were careful to show her the way she should go,
And the way that they showed her, she went.
For obedience she was effusively thanked,
And for anything else she was carefully spanked.
It thus isn't strange that Red Riding Hood's range
Of virtues so steadily grew,
That soon she won prizes of different sizes,
And golden encomiums, too.
As a general rule she was head of her school,
And at six was so notably smart
That they gave her a check for reciting The Wreck
Of the Hesperus wholly by heart.
And you all will applaud her the more, I am sure,
When I add that the money she gave to the poor.
At eleven this lass had a Sunday-school class,
At twelve wrote a volume of verse,
At fourteen was yearning for glory, and learning
To be a professional nurse.
To a glorious height the young paragon might
Have climbed, if not nipped in the bud,
But the following year struck her smiling career
With a dull and a sickening thud!
I have shad a great tear at the thought of her pain,
And must copy my manuscript over again!
Not dreaming of harm, one day on her arm
A basket she hung. It was filled
With drinks made of spices, and jellies, and ices,
And chicken-wings, carefully grilled,
And a savory stew, and a novel or two
She persuaded a neighbor to loan,
And a Japanese fan, and a hot water-can.
And a bottle of eau de cologne,
And the rest of the things that your family fill
Your room with whenever you chance to be ill.
She expected to find her decrepit but kind
Old grandmother waiting her call,
Exceedingly ill. Oh, that face on the pillow
Did not look familiar at all!
With a whitening cheek she started to speak,
But her peril she instantly saw:
Her grandma had fled and she'd tackled instead
Four merciless paws and a maw!
When the neighbors came running the wolf to subdue
He was licking his chops—and Red Riding Hood's, too!