03 August 2010

Danny the Woodsman

Gruffling snuffling snoring snorts
brought Danny the Woodsman near
to the cottage of widow Johnson,
window glass against his ear.

Sounds that did not seem human
made Danny peek inside
where whatever lay in the widow’s bed
bore a hairy bristled hide.

The woodsman pulled his knife from its sheath,
exposing its silver bright shine
he snuck in the cottage and sliced the wolf
and saw Little Red inside.

She twisted herself up from his stomach
breathing and laughing and free
while Danny helped her Grandmother
disengage from the wolf’s debris.

Together the trio commenced
to fill the wolf’s belly with stones
then the widow stitched him together
and now he’s a pile of bones.

Danny the Woodsman received no acclaim
for freeing the fabled twosome
though he won the heart of Little Red
when he freed her, gastric and gruesome.

They settled down with Grandmother
in her cottage near the wood.
The pile of stones and bones out front
kept wolves away for good.

Shout out to Irene Toh at We Write Poems for the prompt:

“Write a poem that revisits the Red Riding Hood fairy tale. You can change the story, or question the assumptions behind the fairy tale, eg why doesn’t the wolf eat Red Riding Hood in the forest when he first met her?, why does the author allow fantasy, such as that the wolf can be cut up and the grandmother and the Red Riding Hood emerge unhurt, or wonder what Red Riding Hood stands for, such as if wearing a red hood is significant, or question the innocence of Red Riding Hood, eg why does she not go straight to grandmother’s house as her mother instructed but chose to wander? Or you can revisit another fairy tale altogether!”

This was difficult for me, until I took the children’s rhyme route. I also read the Brothers Grimm version of the story here. The huntsman received little notoriety for saving the day, so I focused on him, but changed him to a woodsman.


Mary said...

I did like the child's rhyme route that you took with this and the modernization of the story with the new character Danny! And I can just picture the pile of stones and bones!

irene said...

An engaging retelling Brenda. Interesting character, the woodsman. It's getting to be marvellous reading all the takes of the story.

flaubert said...

Brenda this quite the engaging tale you have written here!
Danny the Woodsman nice one!

angie said...

oh, I love that you went with the woodsman! (I forgot all about him, actually) and I like the nursery-rhym path you took (oh, ok I'll say it -- through the woods!)


barbara said...

Good one, Brenda. I've been diss-ing the woodsman, though truth to tell, if it weren't for him bringing the happy ending, the story would be a whole, whole lot less engaging.

Derrick said...

This is a great tale, Brenda, and I love the revision you've given it! Just as cautionary for today's audience!

brenda w said...

Thanks for all of your comments. I'm glad you liked the rhyming, and my take on the tale.

Angie- Your comment gave me a chuckle, thanks!


Diane T said...

I love Danny the Woodsman! Great idea, and what a rescuer even if it was not his claim to fame! Beautifully written. I'll never forget this version of the story!

Raven's Wing Poetry said...

You did well with the rhyme -- executing it without it sounding trite or forced. I also like that you focused on the woodsman -- the largely ignored character in the whole tale except that he gives it a happy ending. Good job.


Peggy Goetz said...

I like this tale and the child's rhyme form you used. Actually I had completely forgotten about the huntsman--in fact, I basically had forgotten the details of the story until this prompt came along! Typical fairytale ending suits the form well!

Linda said...

Danny the woodsman works perfectly for this version of the tale. The wolf suffers a proper ending . I can just imagine applauding when he comes to his end.


neil reid said...

A very competent cousin to the original story. And I understand your reading the Grimm's, as this poem, frightful in its gruesome passion for doing in the wolf, oh gosh! (Does no one care for the wolf?)

The imagery is rich, from ear to window glass, to the ending pile of bones and stones! All in sum, an excellent response to the prompt. Good job Brenda.

gautami tripathy said...

Very vivid. I liked the images it created in my mind.

wolfish grins