On Tuesday morning Redina said, "Let's face it Dad this wolf is a pain in the bum, I mean every time I go through the forest to see Granny he hassles me"
" Try running a bit faster, Red", said her father the woodcutter."I reckon you could outdistance that old wolf,"
" Maybe if I had a new trainers, dad ", she replied.
So that afternoon, Redina in her new trainers,a pair of Levi jeans, an 'I can run quick' T-shirt, and of course, her obligatory red riding hood (size S), set off along the path to visit her grandmother with the daily basketfull of provisions. As usual she was about half way, when Guess Who should appear. Now Redina had planned this out - don't talk just run. (This was a Tuesday, the day when the ancient Greeks remembered Mercury, the god with the winged heels). She had nearly made it to Granny`s cottage when she heard the hoarse breaths and pounding feet of the wolf behind her. Shortly he was alongside. Then in front.
" Any joy with the new footwear" asked her father on her return.
"Well, you could call it a no-score-draw," replied Redina. "But I want to do better than that. I want to beat him."
"Well we tried running,you didn't quite beat him there."said her father
"Tell you what," said Redina, her confidence boosted by her measure of success as running. "I am going to take this wolf on at his own game and I'm going to beat him. I'll give the sod a taste of his own medicine. Maybe if I could borrow one of your old choppers, Dad."
"They're called axes," said her father."axes."
So on Wednesday, (the day named after Woden, the Norse god of war,) our intrepid heroine, who was trying to feel as intrepid as she could, set out with a different resolve
"Thanks for the loan of the chopper," she said as she left.
"Axe," said her father," it's called an axe."
This was the day when the boot would be on the other foot. This was the day when she was going to hassle the wolf. Going through the forest, eyes wide open, scanning all around, looking out for any glimpse of furry tail or pointed ears which might be visible poking out from behind a tree, Redina strode. She was nearly at the cottage when, rounding the last bend, there he was, just smugly sitting in the middle of the path. Redina took three deep breaths, then she thought to herself,"Right this is it, look out wolf, here I come," and brandishing her father's axe above her head rushed at her foe.
The wolf did a nimble sidestep, growling, "OK, you're asking for it this time," and bared his fangs ready for an assault.
All this commotion alerted grandma who from the door called out imperiously, "Will you two stop that at once !".
Wolf slinks off; Redina lowers axe and dutifully trots into cottage. "Well whatever was all that fuss about?" asked grandma after she had made a pot of tea.
"It's the same every day, that wolf always goes for me"
"From what I saw," said Grandma, "it was you who were going for the wolf."
"Ah" ,said Redina, "that was just today ", and explained how she was trying out different tactics.
"Have you got any ideas, Gran?"
"If I where you I would just ignore him. If you want control, first control your feelings."
"Control my feelings!" screamed Redina.
"No", said Grandma, " I said `First control your feelings`".
Redina didn't think much of this idea, but she felt that she might give it a whirl.
So when she set out on Thursday, (the day named after Thor, the king of the gods who is neutral to the petty squabbles of lesser beings), she had decided to walk with head straight forward and not respond to any baiting from the beast.
"Just ignore him, like Gran said," she thought.
"Good afternoon, axe-girl," said the wolf.
Redina said nothing.
"Not speaking to me today then?" he huffed.
She continued to do just that.
"Well we are being pompous aren't we," said the wolf, keeping pace by the side of the path. And so on all the way to the cottage.
"Well I tried what you said, Gran," she said
"And here you are in one piece, I knew it would work," said Grandma.
"Yes, but it was a right bore the whole trip, I want to be able to think about England's chance against Ecuador in the forthcoming snooker friendly in Tasmania, and I can't think straight if that wolf is yapping at me. There must be a better answer."
That evening she discussed the problem with their friend Bluey Green.
"Yes, but wolves are animals too," said Ms Green when Red had said her bit. "The thing is to consider it from the wolf's point of view. What motivates the wolf to behave in this way? What is it that he really wants? Wolves are social animals they usually hunt in packs. They are members of the dog family, and so they can befriend humans. The dog is man's best friend."
"Well this wolf certainly isn't my best friend," said Redina, "with a wolf like that, you don't need the sort of idea you've just come out with."
"Well I think it's worth a try." said Bluey." try making friends with him."
So on Friday, (the day that the ancients allotted to the goddess of love,) Redina set off determined to be friendly.
"I don't even know his name". she thought.
"Hello, I'm Redina, what's your name," she said when the wolf appeared.
"Longfellow," said the wolf," but you can call me `Long` for short,"
"Your coat's looking really sleek today," said Redina," and isn't the weather nice?"
"Yes it is," said the wolf, " could you lend me a cigarette, if you've got a spare one."
"There's only nineteen in this packet," grumbled Grandma as Redina was unloading he rest of the goodies from the basket.
"Yes, well I had to give the wolf one, didn't I?", explained our heroine.
"If this carries on I can see you arriving with an empty basket," said Grandma, "I think that wolf needs a good talking to."
"It was talking to him, I had to give him one of your fags," said Redina.
"No, I mean making it clear to him what is, and what is not, acceptable behaviour. Why, in my day... "
"Alright Gran, I'll try that."
So on Saturday, (the Jewish Sabbath, the day of Moses and his ten commandments to do this and not to do that,) Redina readied herself to tell the wolf just what he could do and what he could not do and, come to that, where he could go, not to mention where he could stuff it, "Long," she said, when the wolf made his usual appearance." I think you should know that I find your behaviour intolerable,"
"Oh, chill out," said the wolf, " I'm only lupine."
"Only what?" said Redina, before she realised that asking a question would lose her the initiative.
"Lupine," repeated the wolf, " spelt L.U.P.I.N.E, the adjectival form of the name of my species." and padded off haughtily off back amongst the trees.
"And did you tell him what for, like I said," asked Grandma.
"Yes, but he took the mickey, and then he ended up trying to teach me stuff " sobbed Redina almost in tears.
"But he walked off, didn't he" declared Grandma, " I count that as a success,"
"You count it what you like," thought Redina "you don't have to face the beast."
On Sunday morning, her father felt it was about time they showed up at the local church, so there she was listening to some geyser " - - - if someone slaps you on right cheek, turn and offer him your left, - - for your shirt, let him have your coat as well, -- makes you go one mile, go with him twain," Well she had tried everything else she could think of with the wolf, and most of the places he might slap her she had got twain of, so she thought "What the Hell," or should that be "What the Heaven." So, on her way through the wood to Grandma that Sunday, when the wolf growled menacingly at her from behind a tree, she boldly said "Growl again Mr Wolf"
"Shan't " said the wolf, "I'll growl when I feel like it, and the names Longfellow." Then he went silent.
Redina was embarrassed by the silence and so she said, "I'm just walking to my grandma's"
and the wolf just walked to her grandma's as well, pestering her all the way.
That evening her father asked. "Wolf still giving you grief?"
"You can say that again", said Redina. "It's just occurred though, how about a fence? You could make a fence, couldn't you Dad, with some wood and your chopper and stuff."
"It's called an axe," said her father, "an axe". But he was fantastically good at using it and promptly erected a fence the entire length of the path to Grandma's.
So on Monday, (the day dedicated to the moon, which obstructs sunlight when there is an eclipse) as Redina made her accustomed trip, she was one side of the fence - and the wolf meanwhile had cunningly walked around to the same side of the fence.
On Tuesday morning Dad said, "Let's face it Redina, this wolf is a pain ..."
Any other ideas for coping with wolves ? What did Redina do next ? Write and tell us, we will publish.