A wolf wants to eat the girl but is afraid to do so in public. He approaches Little Red Riding Hood and she naïvely tells him where she isgoing. He suggests the girl pick some flowers, which she does. In the meantime, he goes to the grandmother's house and gains entry by pretending to be the girl.He swallows the grandmother whole, and waits for the girl, disguised as the grandmother.
When the girl arrives, she notices he looks very strange to be hergrandmother. Little Red Riding Hood then says, "What big hands you have!" In most retellings, this eventually culminates with Little Red Riding Hood saying, "My, whatbig teeth you have!", to which the wolf replies, "The better to eat you with," and swallows her whole, too.
A hunter, however, comes to the rescue and cuts thewolf open. Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother emerge unharmed. They fill the wolf's body with heavy stones. The wolf awakens thirsty from his large mealand goes to the well to seek water, where he falls in and drowns. (Sanitized versions of the story have had the grandmother shut in the closet instead of eaten, andsome have Little Red Riding Hood saved by the hunter as the wolf advances on her, rather than after she is eaten.)
The tale makes the clearest contrast betweenthe safe world of the village and the dangers of the forest, conventional antitheses that are essentially medieval, though no written versions are as old as that.