Red was so busy playing with her doll, Hazel, that she didn’t hear her mother calling. The first time or the second time.
Mrs Rabbit called again. “LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD! Please get me some carrots.”
“Yes Mom!” Red called back. As she skipped to the veggie garden, Red wondered why her mother was always shouting.
“I hate it when you call me that,” said Red when she came inside. Mrs Rabbit wiped her forehead, her hands covered with flour.
“Well you should have answered the first time,” she said, “Do you want to stir?”
“Yes please!” Red squealed. Stirring was her favorite helping job, especially when her mom made cupcakes. Red hopped onto a stool and swung the carrots up to the table.
“Watch out for the—”
It was too late. The carrots landed right on top of the eggs. Red heard them SQUELCH! and egg splattered all over everything— including Red and her mom.
Red guessed her mom didn’t like having egg on her face. She looked a bit like she’d had an accident blowing her nose. That made Red giggle, but she tried to hold it in, because her mom was giving her the look. The look meant Red was in BIG trouble, and smiling usually made her mom even madder.
“Here!” Mrs Rabbit said through her teeth, handing Red the wooden spoon, “Please don’t make any more mess.”
While Red stirred, her mom cleaned up. Red licked some egg off her lips. She made a face. She didn’t like raw egg, but she did like cupcakes, especially carrot cupcakes.
“I can’t wait to eat these,” she said.
“They’re not for you,” said her mom, “The cupcakes are for Granny, to make her feel better.”
“Are we visiting Granny?” Red’s Granny was her favorite person in the whole world. “I bet she’ll let me have a cupcake.”
“Only if we get them finished,” said her mom, “Can you please get me two more eggs?”
Red hopped down from her stool and looked in the egg bowl.
“There aren’t any,” she said.
Red’s mom came over and looked in the bowl. “Oh dear, you’re right. We can’t make cupcakes without eggs.”
Red’s mom looked at her, for a really long time. Red was just starting to think she was in trouble again when her mom finally spoke.
“Would you like to go to the market by yourself?” she asked.
“By myself?” Red didn’t know about that. She’d been to the market lots of times, but always with her mom. She’d never gone all by herself.
“Can’t you come too?” she asked.
“I have to stay and look after the ale or it’ll spoil.”
People came from all over to buy Mrs Rabbit’s ale. They said it was so good, it must have a secret ingredient. Red once heard Mrs Shrew say the secret ingredient was rabbit droppings, but Red didn’t believe that, because her mom hardly ever dropped anything in the ale. Mrs Rabbit told people the secret ingredient was love.
Red realized her mom was still talking.
“We’ll go another time,” she said, “I’m sure Granny will understand.”
Red didn’t want to miss out on going to Granny’s house. Maybe going to the market wouldn’t be so scary after all, and she would get to see Meg—her very best friend in the whole wide world.
“I guess I could go by myself,” Red said in her bravest voice.
Red’s mom smiled, “That’s my big girl.”
That made Red feel a bit better. She knew her mom really meant it, not like when she called Red’s baby sister a big girl, when she did something totally easy like sit up or eat solid food. Besides, Red was pretty sure that only grownups were allowed to go to the market all by themselves.
“Make sure you hurry there and back,” Red’s mom warned, helping Red put on her riding hood.
Red loved her red riding hood. When she wore it, she pretended that she was a princess. She wore it so much, people started calling her Little Red Riding Hood. After a while everyone just called her Red.
As she picked up her basket, Red wondered if people would call her BIG Red Riding Hood now.
She made sure that Hazel was safely tucked in while her mother walked her to the gate.
“Don’t forget. Straight there and back.”
Red rolled her eyes, “Yes Mom!” She said, and started skipping along the road.
Red skipped everywhere. She couldn’t understand why anyone would want to walk when they could skip. Skipping was so much more fun.
At the corner, Red stopped and looked back. She was glad to see her mom still at the gate.
“Be careful of the big animals,” her mom called.
Red nodded and waved, and then turned the corner to the market.