Ola was the pesky three-year-old daughter of a twenty-year-old elementary school teacher. Every night after she is put to bed, Ola annoyed her mother with peeving requests such as begging for a story.
“Mom, tell me a story.”
“Go to sleep. I’m tired and I don’t know any stories.”
“But you told me a story yesterday.”
The mother, already feeling irritated by her daughter’s call, said, “You already know that story. I already told it to you ten times.”
“Tell it to me again, please. I want a story.”
“I spent the entire day talking. I need to sleep. Stop this and go to bed.”
Ola was ruthless. She kept on soliciting her mother for a story.
“Tell me the Little Red Riding Hood that you told me yesterday.”
The mother unable to sleep, caves in to her daughter’s irksome request. “Fine then, I will tell you a story but promise that you will sleep after that.”
“Ok. I will sleep after.”
Attempting to hypnotize her daughter, the mother recited in a very slow monotonous voice, “Little Red Riding Hood was born in a very happy family. She led a very happy life, and she died old and happy. This is a story. Now go to sleep.”
“Nooo. That’s not a story.”
“Well, since you know it’s not, why don’t you tell yourself a story. I need to sleep.”
By now, Ola is on the verge of throwing a tantrum.
“No, I want you to tell me a story. I don’t want to tell myself a story.”
“But, Ola, you already know it.”
“I want to know it again.”
“Little Red Riding Hood was a naughty girl who never listens to her mom. When her mom says, ‘sleep,’ she doesn’t sleep. When her mom says, ‘put on your slippers and don’t walk barefoot,’ she doesn’t put on her slippers and she walks barefoot. Little Red Riding Hood just does what she pleases. One day, her mother sent her on an errand to grandma’s house. She sent with her a basket, and she made sure to tell Little Red Riding Hood the two nevers.
“What was in the basket? In the basket there were olives, bread, cheese, and zaatar,” the mother asked and replied.
“No, that’s not what was in the basket,” Ola objected.
“You have to listen and don’t argue, or else I will go to sleep and will not finish the story.”
“Do you remember the two nevers Ola?”
Ola knew that her mother was changing up the story, but she played on. “Never take the long road, and never tell your secrets to anybody,” Ola replied.
“And why shouldn’t she take the long road?” the mother asked in a semi-asleep voice.
“Because the forrest is dangerous.”
“And who lives in the forrest?”
“Bambi and rabbits.”
“Who is the dangerous animal that lives in the forrest?”
“The wolf,” Ola said.
“And what happens to Little Red Riding Hood for not listening to her mom?”
“She was late to her grandma’s house.”
“Then what happens to her for telling her secret?”
“The wolf had arrived before Little Red Riding Hood. The wolf ate her grandma.”
“Great. That’s all. I have told you the story that you already know. Now go to sleep.”
“No. That’s not the whole story.”
“Well, when you are with grandma tomorrow, ask her. I don’t like telling stories. You should tell me a story because you seem to remember more than me.”
“No. I want you to tell it to me.”
“So what happens to little girls who do not listen to their mothers?”
“The wolf eats them, then a neighbor comes in and shoots the wolf with a rifle. He then opens the wolf’s stomach and saves them.”
“No, that’s in the story, but in reality, if the wolf eats you, you die. Now sleep before I kill you.”