Australian Red Riding Hood

A new story by Liz Locksley, Thrive Story

Created for a live storytelling at Dark Enchantment, on Saturday, November 17, 2018 10am-3pm

Dingo lives in remnant bushland on the edge of the city. She wants to visit her granny Dingo who lives on the other side of the city in another remnant bush reserve. The last green corridor connecting to Granny Dingo’s land has been cut down. Now she must cross the wild city to get there.

Dingo loves her Granny Dingo who tells stories of the time before the city came.  When the bushland was connected. She tells of ancestors and relatives who lived there. How they were killed when the loggers and miners came. And then the developers came and built the grey towers and sealed the soil from the sky. Installed the lights that hide the stars and the monsters that breathe fire into the air.

Dingo crosses the city. It is inhospitable. Night falls but it is not really dark. She can’t see the stars but she can see lots of other strange lights above her. She is frightened. Great grey looming rectangular lumps taller than a tree surround her. It is very hot. Heat radiates from the concrete around her and burns her paws.  Mechanical beasts with fiery eyes speed around, blowing smoke/fumes making it hard to see, smell and hear in the dark. Humans swarm everywhere.

In the remnant bush reserve where Granny Dingo lives, there is an old ramshackle shack . An old woman lives there, still off-grid and never connected to town water, grid electricity or even a phone line. She drinks and washes in rainwater. She writes letters and sometimes uses the library. She is independent and freethinking (like my granny, Hannah Hauxwell, Calamity Jill, Alice Hungerford). She is an artist and activist. Her name is Garnet. She remembers the old stories of Red Riding Hood. Some local people say she is a Dingo spirit who feeds dingo pups at her own breast.

The shack was built by a logger who lived there with his wife and child. Back then it was deep in the middle of the bush, far far from other homesteads. The logger died young.  It’s said he was killed by savage dingos. His wife lived on in the shack till she was an old woman. Local people say the dingoes killed her too one day when her granddaughter, Red Riding Hood came to visit.

Ruby Credit: Els-Fattah-1064556-unsplash
Garnet has a granddaughter, Ruby. Like Dingo, Ruby is on her way to visit her granny.  Ruby has heard the developers are coming this week to clear the bushland and knock down Granny Garnet’s shack. Garnet and Ruby have a plan to protect the remnant bush. Put their bodies on the line.

Ruby, is confident, creative and a brilliant communicator. She sees every day as a new opportunity to create what her heart desires.

Dingo and Ruby separately arrive at Granny Dingo’s land which surrounds Garnet’s shack. It is dusk, the animal cacophony is almost deafening, with screeching cockatoos, laughing kookaburras and cicadas. Dingo dashes into the undergrowth beneath the bloodwood tree and gymea lilies, in search of Granny Dingo and unseen by a sea of men in high vis yellow vests.

The developers are on site already to clear the land and destroy the forest home of Granny Dingo. Bulldozers are lined up. Men are firing up chainsaws. Ruby pushes through the crowd and goes into Granny Garnet’s house.

Just as Ruby goes in the door, she sees the police pull up outside. They are here to arrest Granny Garnet who has ignored numerous eviction orders. The police dog catchers are there too, to catch the wild old dog they believe lives there.

Granny Garnet

Credit Tom-Watkins-585447-unsplash

Inside the shack, Ruby sees Granny Garnet standing by the door looking very different to usual.  She is fierce, determined and naked. Her old body is wrinkled and saggy, yet simultaneously strong and leathery with hard physical work and living outdoors a lot. In her hand she holds a pot of something.  “Come in quickly Ruby, close the door,” says Garnet. “Take off your clothes so I can paint you.” Ruby is young and strong too, she’s a climber - of rocks, trees, and ropes. Quickly, deftly and with ceremonial care, Garnet smears red sticky paste onto Ruby’s naked body, like sticky red sunscreen. Then Ruby paints her grandmother with the same paste, its magic bringing a rush of blood and new vitality to Garnet’s elderly joints, muscles and organs.

Painted in red, and still naked Garnet and Ruby leave the house, surprising police and the crowd, who are dumbstruck and let them pass. The red painted women a wild contrast to their high viz yellow vests, police uniforms, machinery, yellow bulldozer truck drivers and chainsaws.
Ruby and Garnet throw up ropes to the largest tree and climb up them. The moon rising behind them as they turn and somersault, high in the canopy. The moon is filled with the invisible play of light magic of Opal, Ruby’s mother and Garnet’s daughter.

The Dingos begin howling, adding to the already deafening cacophony of creatures.

The men are terrified and frozen.  

Then Garnet, Ruby, the Dingos, the birds and sugar gliders begin to sing together, a mesmerising orchestral song that speaks to the stars.  An ancient song of kindness, charm, empathy and wisdom. Their song so powerful it dissolves ingrained behavior patterns, by-passes resistance, useless old ideas, taboos, anger and discord. It sings to the cells and deep spirits in the women, the men, the creatures and the land.   
“If we people lived our lives, as if it were a song, for singing out of light, it would be the music for the stars to be dancing circles in the night.”

Created for a live storytelling at Dark Enchantment, hosted by Storytellers NSW and the Australian Fairytale Society

Blood, sex, death, abandonment and loss, trickery, treasure and triumph – if stories of the dark and magical fascinate you then prepare to be enchanted! Members of Storytellers NSW will perform versions of four of the best loved fairy tales, with members of the Australian Fairy Tale Society creating context for you to enter into some of the deeper meanings of these ancient and ever-fresh stories. Saturday, November 17, 2018 10:00 AM 3:00 PM St Helen's Community Centre, 184 Glebe Point RoadGlebe, NSW, 2037 Australia (map) Tickets through Trybooking:


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