Little Red had fleece as white as snow. So, it may seem a little strange that her name was Little Red, when she wasn’t red at all. But she was red once, for a short time, and sheep have long memories, so even now she is still called Little Red.
She got her nickname because she was curious. Little Red was always curious. Her mother said that Little Red bleated why long before she ever said ma.
So, when the farmer began putting a new coat of red paint on the big barn doors, Little Red rushed over to take a closer look. She examined the doors and the paint can and the farmer’s paint splattered shoes before the farmer had even finished a down stroke with his paintbrush.
And just like that, she was splashed and speckled red all over. It took quite a while for the last of the paint to fade. The other lambs all still teased her months later, but even that didn’t cure her curiosity.
Little Red’s grandmother was sold to the farmer the next farm over. When the flock drifted over by the fence, sometimes her grandmother was on the other side of the fence and her mother and grandmother would catch up.
“Did you know that Dandelion had a lamb this spring?” Mother said last week.
“Little Red will have to look out for her new cousin,” Grandmother said.
They both looked at her, but Little Red pretended not to hear them. Babies were boring. She wanted to go on an adventure. She was old enough now to spend time away from her mother and see the world. There was so much to see!
So, a week later, when the sheepdog was herding the sheep towards the pasture closer to the barn, Little Red turned and bolted. She thought about squeezing through the hole in the fence and visiting her grandmother. But, in the flat pastures, she’d be spotted soon enough. Besides, Grandmother would just scold her and send her home.
Little Red looked around. The shadows in the nearby forest looked cool on the hot day and very mysterious. It looked like the perfect place for an adventure. She raced towards the forest and soon was hidden in its shadows.
It just so happened that, in the forest by the pasture, there lived a little wolf with pretty shiny fur. Her fur was so shiny that her mother called her Little Miss Shiny Fur, and the name stuck. Her friends, family, and other wolfish acquaintances all called her Miss Shiny.
The day before Little Red’s adventure, Miss Shiny’s family had a big barbecue and invited all the neighbors. Unfortunately, they ended up with lots of leftovers. And so, just as Little Red slipped into the shadows of the forest, Miss Shiny’s mother sent her with a basket of leftovers to her grandmother, who lived on the other side of the woods.
It wasn’t long before they crossed paths. Little Red, ever curious, asked, “What do you have in that basket?”
Miss Shiny, startled, turned to find a little white sheep with sticks and leaves in its wool looking closely at her basket. “It’s treats for my grandmother. She lives at the other side of the forest.”
Little Red nodded. “I have a grandmother, too. But I don’t need to bring her treats. The grass is always greener on her side of the fence.”
“All right then.” And Miss Shiny turned and continued on her way.
Little Red decided that visiting someone else’s grandmother would be a grand adventure, and she was curious to see what was in the basket. She followed her all the way to her grandmother’s house. To her delight, Miss Shiny didn’t notice. While Miss Shiny knocked on the front door, Little Red snuck in the back door and started to explore.
Miss Shiny’s grandmother was a little old wolf whose fur was going white with age. She squinted in the sunlight as she answered the door. “Miss Shiny? Is that you?”
“I’ve brought you some treats, Grandmother.” Miss Shiny held up the basket.
“Did I miss the barbecue again? Oh dear. Come in and have a cup of peppermint tea and tell me all about it.”
Miss Shiny followed her grandmother to the kitchen. But all the dried herbs that usually hung from the cupboards were gone. Only a few well-chewed twigs remained. Grandmother gasped. “Someone’s eaten all my herbs!”
They rushed out of the kitchen and into the living room. Grandmother’s rocking chair was overturned and smashed. Grandmother hurried over and picked up the pieces. “Someone was rocking in my chair and broke it!”
Miss Shiny followed her grandmother to the bedroom. Grandmother yelped and pointed at the bed. “There is someone sleeping in my bed!”
Miss Shiny looked. Whoever was in the bed had their back to them. “Grandmother,” she said. “Isn’t that your nightgown?”
Grandmother growled. “She stole it!”
“And the fur is white as yours, too.”
Grandmother narrowed her eyes. “Mine was never that messy.”
But, just then, Little Red turned to see where the noise was coming from. While she had never seen a wolf before, the angry grandmother with the sharp claws and teeth made her a little nervous. The growls, deeper and scarier than the sheepdog’s, decided it.
Little Red darted out of bed, jumped out the window, and ran home, losing the nightgown in the bushes somewhere along the way. She decided that now that she’d seen the forest, it was boring, and she never needed to explore there again. At least that’s what she told all her friends. Secretly, she often wondered what was in the basket. She never did find out.
Grandmother Wolf had to pick and dry all new herbs. She started with chamomile and made it into tea to steady her nerves. She washed her bed sheets and bought a new nightgown. She never left her back door unlocked again.
Miss Shiny learned to not talk to strangers, even if they seemed harmless. Even strange sheep. Especially strange sheep.