Little Red Riding Hood was a slut!

Today we went over Fairy Tales in Childhood in the 20th Century, and our main focus was on the many different variations of the classic tale Little Red Riding Hood.  Since fairy tales were originally meant to entertain adults, rather than children, many of the stories were raunchy and more commonplace as drunken bar tales than bedtime stories.  The original tale of the little girl in a red hood is no exception.

The oldest known published version of LRRH was not even called LRRH, in fact, there was no mention of a red hood at all.  The story is basically the same, the little girl is bringing bread to her grandmother when a wolf intercepts her in the forest.  The wolf sends her one way and rushes to Grandma’s house while the little girl lolligags on a different pathway.  When the wolf arrives at Grandma’s house, he quickly kills her, but instead of devouring her completely, he places some of the flesh in the pantry and drains some blood into a jar left on the counter.  When the little girl arrives, the wolf asks her to dine with him on some “meat from the pantry” and some “wine on the counter.”  At this point, a cat calls the little girl a slut, and the wolf asks her to come into bed, without any clothes on.  So at this point we’ve got one naked clueless little girl and one sick and twisted pedophile wolf.  When the little girl complains that she has to go to the bathroom, the wolf demands that she just let it go in bed, but after persisting she is allowed to go outside and she escapes.

Pretty sick, eh?  Well, the next version, written by Perrault, was more of a cautionary tale.  In this one she is actually known as Little Red Riding Hood because of the velvet red hood she constantly adorns.  While the wolf does not trick Red into eating her own grandmother, he does still require her to get into bed naked with him.  At the end of this story, though, the wolf quickly “devours” her and there is no escape.  The following moral in poem form followed the tale:

From this story one learns that children,
Especially young girls,
Pretty, well-bred, and genteel,
Are wrong to listen to just anyone,
And it’s not at all strange,
If a wolf ends up eating them.
I say a wolf, but not all wolves
Are exactly the same.
Some are perfectly charming,
Not loud, brutal, or angry,
But tame, pleasant, and gentle,
Following young ladies
Right into their homes, into their chambers.
But watch out if you haven’t learned that tame wolves
Are the most dangerous of all.

Well, I’ll be damned if this fairy tale wasn’t originally about a wolf taking ayoung, naive woman and raping her.

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Posted on January 22, 2007, in Quick Thoughts, School. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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