Christian Holub
October 29, 2015 AT 08:05 PM EDT

When European villagers were first telling each other the story of “Little Red Riding Hood” centuries ago, a wolf in the forest probably was their biggest fear. Now, though, we have different concerns. So who better to update this timeless tale for our current times than one of America’s foremost modern novelists, Jonathan Franzen?

When Franzen stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this week, the host didn’t quiz the author about his latest novel Purity, or even his bird-watching habits. Instead, Colbert had Franzen read him a bedtime story: “Little Red Reading Hood.” In this version of the tale, the protagonist’s grandmother owns a local independent bookstore. The wolf is in fact “a multinational monopoly that had wiped out local retailers and set up low-wage distribution centers in tax-friendly states,” and instead of a woodsman, the U.S. Department of Justice saves the day.

Watch the full video above. 

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