THE TRUE HISTORY OF LITTLE GOLDEN-HOOD 217
' Who is there ? ' says the Wolf, softening his rough voice as best he can.
' It's me, Granny, your little Golden-hood. I'm bringing you a big piece of cake for your Sunday treat to-morrow.'
' Press your finger on the latch, then push and the door opens.'
' Why, you've got a cold, Granny,' said she, coming in.
' Ahem ! a little, a little . . .' replies the Wolf, pretending to cough. ' Shut the door well, my little lamb. Put your basket on the table, and then take off your frock and come and lie down by me : you shall rest a little.'
The good child undresses, but observe this ! She kept her little hood upon her head. When she saw what a figure her Granny cut in bed, the poor little thing was much surprised.
' Oh !' cries she,' how like you are to friend Wolf, Grandmother !'
' That's on account of my night-cap, child,' replies the Wolf.
' Oh ! what hairy arms you've got, Grandmother!'
' All the better to hug you, my child.'
' Oh ! what a big tongue you've got, Grandmother !'
' All the better for answering, child.'
' Oh! what a mouthful of great white teeth you have, Grandmother !'
' That's for crunching little children with !' And the Wolf opened his jaws wide to swallow Blanchette.
But she put down her head crying:
' Mamma ! Mamma !' and the Wolf only caught her little hood.
Thereupon, oh dear ! oh dear! he draws back, crying and shaking his jaw as if he had swallowed red-hot coals.
It was the little fire-coloured hood that had burnt his tongue right down his throat.
The little hood, you see, was one of those magic caps that they used to have in former times, in the stories, for making oneself invisible or invulnerable.
So there was the Wolf with his throat burnt, jumping off the bed and trying to find the door, howling and howling as if all the dogs in the country were at his heels.
Just at this moment the Grandmother arrives, returning from the town with her long sack empty on her shoulder.
' Ah, brigand ! ' she cries, ' wait a bit!' Quickly she opens her sack wide across the door, and the maddened Wolf springs in head downwards.