I recently made it to 1,000 followers on Twitter. That's not many in the grand scheme of things - have you seen how many followers some celebs have? I weep. But it's a milestone to me, so to celebrate I've unearthed one of my old poems for you.
When I was little (Okay, very little. Okay, younger), my Mum would often read to me from Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes. One of my favourites was 'Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf'. You can read that poem online, but I suspect it'd be better if you buy the book.
I think I wrote the following poem somewhere in the region of 10 years ago. It's a send-up of the Revolting Rhymes style, and imagines what life might be like from the wolf's perspective. I've even tried to use the same number of syllables in each line as Roald Dahl did.
Enjoy! And if you like it, go nose around the rest of my website. I have a lot more writing where that came from.
When telling stories to a child,
You’ll notice this after a while:
Each character along the way
Has their very own part to play.
Some role that they perform quite well,
Or job at which they can excel.
For Mr. Wolf, this task entails
Running around in fairytales
Eating the cast and destroying homes,
Huffing and puffing wherever he roams.
Now, my dear reader, you may bet
You haven’t seen a Good Wolf yet.
But what if one wolf dared to dream
That he wouldn’t make Granny scream
While prowling 'round the spooky wood?
So it came to be that a wolf turned good.
Of course, the others all objected.
“The Big Bad Wolf must be respected!
He’s practically the biggest role.
Removing him will leave a hole
That’s near impossible to fill!
If he won’t work, then no-one will!”
They weren’t prepared to change their minds -
So much so that Snow White resigned,
And then it wasn’t long before
The rest departed by the score.
Rapunzel, with three pigs in tow,
Ran off to start her own talk show.
The Frog Prince bought a spa (with pool).
No longer under fairytale rule,
Hansel and Gretel went M.I.A.
It all seemed fine – until, one day,
The Big Good Wolf was on a break
From baking yet another cake
And knitting yet another sweater.
At noon, Good Wolf received a letter.
“Dear Wolfie, it’s your agent here.
I’d like to make a few things clear.
Your charisma and bonhomie
Have caused everyone else to flee,
And as for all these cakes you bake,
They’re giving me a tummy ache.
I don’t know if you’ve ever read
The small print, but this must be said:
Niceness is banned in your contract.
So sorry, Wolfie, you’ve been sacked!”
This upset Good Wolf quite a bit.
He’d found a niche in which he fit.
With no place left to hang his hat,
Wolf disappeared, and that was that.
The tale does not end there, oh no!
We’ve still got the best part to go.
So, please, imagine if you can
That since this little rhyme began
A whole decade has hurried past,
And we can find Good Wolf at last.
Now, one Little Red Riding Hood
Had done what no little girl should
And flown across to Amsterdam
Under the pretext of ‘am dram’.
While on this suspect ‘business trip’
Red spotted Wolf. He was a drip.
She took him to a brown cafe
To find out how he'd lost his way.
His life post-'Bad', Wolfie explained,
Had been ventures with nothing gained.
His life was dull. His life was sad.
He missed the old life as ‘Big Bad’.
The scarlet girl in scarlet dress
Offered to help clear up this mess.
She’d get him back to the old ways
(As they’re often the bit that pays).
Red Riding Hood was shrewd, you see.
She saw an opportunity
To make a stonking load of dough
Off of the back of Wolfie’s woe.
They flew back home, to Story Land,
Where Wolf got to the task in hand.
The houses made of straw and sticks
Came tumbling down, as did the bricks.
The hog roast took no time at all.
At that point, Red sent out the call
And shouted, in her biggest voice,
“The Big Bad Wolf is back! Rejoice!”
As twisted as this line may sound,
Characters flocked from all around
To wait in an orderly queue
For Wolf to turn them into stew
Or flatten out their fixed abode.
Faced with this shiny new workload,
Big Bad Wolf grinned, and made a toast.
“To everyone I treasure most!
You’re all about to be my lunch.
I know some of you had a hunch
That the 'nice' stuff just wouldn’t last.
But I must say, it’s been a blast!”
A mighty cheer went up, along
With raised hands from the waiting throng.
Wolf took one last look at the crowd,
Then huffed and puffed to make them proud.
The moral of this story, folks
(Despite the almost constant jokes)
Is that you are just what you are.
No matter what, no-one strays far
From what they’re truly meant to be.
This applies to both you and me,
And to our Wolf, the featured friend
Who was bad both at start and end.
That period of sweet and light
Wolf went through – well, it wasn’t right.
His may not be the path for you,
But stick to what you know is true
And everything will turn out great.
I promise you, it’s worth the wait.