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(c) 2002 by Rosemary Lake, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, in Once Upon a Time When the Princess Rescued the Prince (13 Fairy Tales) available in paperback and ebook from http://www.rosemarylake.com

Free sample excerpt from

The Vampire Grandmother

    Once upon a time there was a cute little girl whom everyone called 'Miss Totally Capricious.' People who liked the little girl said that meant 'precious,' and people who didn't like her said it meant 'spoiled.’ But everyone agreed that whatever it meant, little Cappy behaved like that because her mother was very, very good to her.

    Anyway, one day Cappy would not stop singing, “I want cookies; I want cookies.”

    “Hush,” said her mother, “you're just fretting. Here, take this sieve and carry it over to your grandmother's house. And here's a lunch for you: yellow cheese and roasted nuts and a big green apple.”

    So Cappy stopped singing and walked through the countryside to her grandmother's farm. She didn't eat the lunch, because she hoped her grandmother would make her some cookies.

    When she got to the farm, grandmother's cat met her at the road, crying: “I'm so hungry, I'm so hungry, no one has fed me all day! Will you give me your yellow cheese?”

    “Of course, poor kitty,” said Cappy, who was very kind-hearted, and she gave him all her yellow cheese.

    When she got to her grandmother's yard, the goat met her, crying: “I'm so hungry, I'm so hungry, no one has fed me all day! Will you give me your roasted nuts?”

    “Of course, poor goat,” said Cappy, and she gave him all her roasted nuts.

    When she got to her grandmother's barn, the horse met her, crying: “I'm so hungry, I'm so hungry, no one has fed me all day! Will you give me your big green apple?”

    “Of course, poor horse,” said Cappy, and she gave him her big green apple.

    At last Cappy got to her grandmother's house, but found it all shut up and dark. She knocked and called, “Granny, Granny, come open up!”

 

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Changed and lengthened from “L'orca,” a Southern European tale.  ‘Miss Totally Capricious’ is my phrase, suggested by de Nino’s footnote to ‘i tutti cugli,’ which says “I capriccetti […] capriccioso piagnucolante.” -- see Selected Bibliography.

Parts of this story are my own; other parts (including the scatological escape) very closely follow the 1883 original. A similar escape is in a French version (A. Millien, Melusine,  v. 3 [1886-1887] col. 428-429) – and see Jack Zipes, The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood: Versions of the Tale In Sociocultural Context. Other very old, similar versions are linked from my site.

Calvino’s version, “The False Grandmother,” follows the 1883 events more closely than mine, has a delightful ending, and is well worth reading aloud (Parental Discretion Advised in the middle).