Hey There, Little Red Riding Hood

Did you know thee are about 5 versions of red Riding hood? 5… One of them she isn’t even little red riding hood ( to be fair, only 2 REALLY call her ‘Little Red Riding hood’)

It’s a simple story with a very simple warning but it has a dark history. As most stories written so long ago, it was designed to explain things. In this instance, a young girl who goes missing after heading into the forest. ( A common theme, sadly. Many young girls fell prey to the ‘wolves in the woods’)

The oldest written story comes from Italy, where her hood is never assigned a color. She was merely ‘The girl in the hood’ (Stop laughing; yes I know it sounds like a ridiculous 90’s fad) She was a little less sweet in this version, Talking back, ignoring her mother, chasing butterflies. She was a long long LONG way from the path, deep into the wolves territory. From here to Grandma’s, the story is the same. At Grandmas house, WE (the readers) are the ones way off the beaten path. The cross-dressing pedophile  vile creature Wolf dressed as Grandmother asks  the girl to cook the steaks placed by the fire and the pair can have a hearty meal. Red does this, unaware grandma is the steaks.She makes two plates and enjoys her granny with the wolf. After that, the wolf convinces  the girl they should take a nap together. For some inexplicable reason, naps are better naked, which the wolf convinces Red. Not to put it too delicately, neither of them get any sleep. The story ends with the wolf eating the girl.

The next version changes very little. Instead of a hood, she has a hat. (This hat is red, the Germans will soon have a copy of the hat, but otherwise it’s the more common telling) The wolf does not feed  Grandma to Red, as he ate her in one gulp. He tries to entice the girl into bed with him. He gets her naked before she realizes Nana is fuzzy and wracks her brain for an excuse to get away.  (Which is hard because through nearly every telling, she remains a rather stupid creature.)  Finally she  tells him she needs to go out and do her business. The wolf doesn’t want her bladder to explode all over when he bites her, so he lets her go. The wolf ties her ankle with a piece of yarn so he knows if she tries to make a run for it. After a while, she isn’t back, so he goes and finds she tied the yarn to the tree and made a run for it. The wolf flies into a rage and takes off after her.  The girl, (wearing nothing but her red hat) ran down the road as fast as she could. through the trees she could just see her house when she felt a nip on her heels. The wolf was just behind her, snapping his jaws. Just as he caught up, The girl cleared the trees and being naked has granted her more attention than she really wanted. A dozen or so men go into the woods after the wolf. the girl lives, but she is forever shamed.

Next we move to France, with the Father of fairy tales Charles Perault. The first to say she was a good, sweet albeit stupid girl. Most likely this is the version you know. Little red riding hood, as she is called now wears a bright red wool cloak her grandmother made. She is a good girl and stays on the path until the wolf lures her off.  she eventually goes to grandma and talks to the wolf (what big eyes you have, what big ears you have what a lying bastard you are the whole nine.) the wolf grows impatient and chases her down, gobbling her alive. the wolf climbs on the bed and decides now is as good a time as any for a nap. All is well for him until  a wood cutter sees the wolf through the window. He thinks it odd that a very fat wolf would be dressed in a Victoria secret flannel nightgown. He walked in a cut the wolf open. Red pops out in one piece, no worse for wear. She goes home and hopefully told her mother why she need no longer bake cakes neurotically for grandma.

Next is Germany, where the Brothers Grimm retell it as Redcap ( they seriously refer to the girl as Redcap the whole way through, which honestly sounds like a supervillan) They basically rip from Perault, but after granny and Red are both pulled out of his stomach (How does he sleep through all this?) The pair gather big, heavy rocks and sew them into his stomach. Then they go to visit reds mother and enjoy her honey cakes. The wolf tries to get a drink of water but his stomach is so heavy, he overbalances and falls in drowning. A few weeks later, Red is in the woods again. Another wolf walks up and tries to start a conversation but she ninja kicks him (I wish) runs home again and tells her mother she learned her lesson.

Andrew Lang, an amazing English writer who adapts fairy tales from all over, told a very different version. Thus far, in the Red riding hood stories, the only really supernatural element is the wolf, who speaks to human ( Common among fairy tales, so almost not worth noting.) In Lang’s, however the cloak is magic. When the wolf tried to eat her, The GOLDEN hood forms a barrier around her head and the wolf is unable to swallow.

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