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Little Red Riding Hood Today

Updated on September 3, 2015
Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
Red Riding Hood and the Wolf | Source

Little Red Riding Hood Today

There are several versions of the popular children’s fairy tale, "Little Red Riding Hood." Let me share what I have learned about this enchanting fable.

Earliest Version of Little Red Riding Hood by Perrault

Here is a synopsis of the earliest version of "Little Red Riding Hood,’" the beloved children’s story that was first published by the French writer, Charles Perrault in 1697.

Little Red lives in a village with her mother who asks her to take a basket of wine and cake to her ailing grandma who lives in the woods.

An old, sick woman is living alone in the forest?

Red got her name from the garment she wears incessantly – a red riding hood.

She does not own a horse so the term, riding, may not be appropriate. And the garment she wears is not only a hood but a cloak as well.

Little Red Riding Hood movie

Red’s mother cautions her against wandering off the trail through the forest in order to pick the flowers therein. If she meets a Wolf, she must not give him any information about her task or her grandma.

Red’s mother sends her daughter into the woods where wolves roam without a pistol or a protector.

The Big Bad Wolf meets Red and learns where she is going, avoids any woodcutters in the neighborhood, gets to grandma’s house, and eats Grandma.

What a sweet story for little children!

Then he waits in the bed for Red dressed in granny’s nightdress and cap.

The Wolf then swallows Red whole. End of story.

The moral? Listen to your mother and don’t trust strangers!

The Brothers Grimm

Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm 1855
Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm 1855 | Source

Less Grim Version by the Brothers Grimm

More than one hundred years later, in 1812, the Grimm Brothers published their version of this beloved tale with a kinder ending.

The woodcutter has been transformed into a hunter who carefully cuts open the sleeping wolf with his axe. Little Red and the grandmother are released, uneasy but unharmed and uneaten.

The moral? Listen to your mother and trust the woodcutter.

Subconscious Version by Psychoanalyst Bettelheim

Subconsciously, Little Red was looking for a father figure to replace her real-life absent father. The wolf represents her unconscious desire to be seduced by her father. The eating of Red by the wolf represents the seduction.

That’s what Bruno Bettelheim wrote in an 18-page essay.*

Red at 18
Red at 18 | Source

Contemporary Version by me

Red Riding Hood is a nubile, naïve, natural 18-year old beauty who lives in a small rural village with her mother. For her birthday, her mother sends her to the Big City for a two-week visit with her grandmother who is living in a retirement home.

She is cautioned not to talk to strangers nor pick flowers in the city parks. She promises to call her mother daily using her new birthday gift, a Samsung smartphone encased in red leather. Did I mention that Wonderland is her surname? So she has decided, instead of Red, to call herself Allyson. (Get it?)

Allyson has grown too old for the red riding hood and now favors tight leggings, low-cut cleavage-displaying tops and 3-inch heels. She takes the bus to her grandma’s while innocently attracting the attention of every able-bodied male aboard.

Walter D. Wolf
Walter D. Wolf | Source

A good-looking, muscled, older guy who resembles a bearded but dissolute version of that actor, Brad whatshisname, strikes up a conversation with Red, I mean Allyson. “So where ya going, doll,” he asks.

“To visit my grandma.”

“You are so beautiful you could make it big in movies, ya know.” Now this guy has struck a nerve. Allyson is a fan, big-time, of films and TV, and being a movie star has been her lifelong dream since she was small.

This sophisticated, smooth-talking fellow gains her confidence and introduces himself as Walter D. Wolf – “but you can call me, Wolfie. You are so natural and pretty, in no time at all I could make you famous. Seriously, I’m not kidding. Here’s my card.”

He gave it to her. It read: “Walter D. Wolf, Film Producer.” The card was authentic. Wolfie was a promoter of films – porno films.

Allyson was so excited she promised to go to dinner with him after visiting her grandma. He offered to escort her and she agreed. While she freshened her makeup, he grabbed grandma and locked her in the closet.

Then he tried to convince our heroine that she should work for him. But Allyson, although naïve, was not stupid. She refused and he tried to take advantage. She used the karate moves she had learned from watching Bruce Lee movies, fought him off, and yelled for help.

The resident physician at the home, Dr. Woods, was passing by, heard her scream, and came to her rescue. He fought and subdued Wolfie who was taken to jail. There was so much television coverage on Fox and CNN about the incident that overnight Allyson became famous.

She accepted an offer by a major movie studio and has now become a celebrated, international movie star who has been married and divorced three times.

Is she wealthy? Moderately. Is she happy? Not so much!

The moral? Listen to your mother. Don't trust a Wolf. Have potential partners sign pre-nuptials.

* The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales by Austrian-born American psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, 1976.

© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2015. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."

Comments for Little Red Riding Hood Today

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    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, lady gp. Delighted to have provided you with a laugh. Not surprised your daughter disliked such a gruesome story (in the original version). Share this one with her and she will change her mind. Promise!

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Thanks for the laugh. My daughter never let us read Red Riding Hood, she hated it when she was a little girl.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Enelle. Thanks for the visit and enjoying my Red version. Perhaps Nanna could play the part of Granny (a non-runner) for the 4-year-old and scare of the Wolf with a broom. Just suggestin'.

      Delighted to have given you a laugh.

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 2 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      Certainly enjoyed your version of this fable, but I'm not sure 'Nanna' is up to running around the house after a 4 year old LOL. Great story :D

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, dear Paula, for loving my version of Lil Red the best. I can just picture you scampering around the house pretending to be the Granny/Wolf for your grands.

      What does that say about you? That you are exactly the loving, creative grandma I would imagine you to be

      And thanks for your gracious comments - they make my day.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hahaha ...drbj, you are brilliantly clever and make me laugh so hard, which is a gift and a wonderful thing for readers! I love your version best. My grands actually love the Walt Disney version cartoon where no one is eaten. The wolf just locks granny in the closet and chases Little Red Riding Hood around the house, but she is saved. Mine love for me to play grandma/Big Bad Wolf and chase them around ...hahahah I promise I never eat them! What does that say about me, their "Nanny" ...

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      What a lovely comparison, Dianna. Thank you for those kind, intriguing, creative - and absolutely true, of course - words.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      Your sense of humor is like good medicine! You certainly know how to spin a tale!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Alicia. Thanks for finding all versions including mine interesting. I know that early nursery tales were written as warnings for little children, but they were often too scary for any other message than fear to the little kiddies.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      All of the versions of Little Red Riding Hood are interesting, including - of course - yours! The original version was a very strange tale for children.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks for stopping by, Larry, and finding this an intriguing look. That's one of my favorite but not often heard adjectives.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      An intriguing look into this age old tale.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Psycho is exactly the right word, bp, to use when describing the mindset of those writers who once wrote these creepy, scary fairy tales. But I dunno about jail for Wolfie. I was thinking more about dismemberment. ;)

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      Your version is certainly a step or two up on the scale from the psycho tales of old. I still wouldn't read it to youngsters, but pre-teens and teens might benefit from a reading. Too bad Wolfe wasn't thrown in jail. He could bunk with Bill Clinton.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      OK, Jonah, it's a deal. You handle the casting for this epic and I'll work on the screen play. I like James Woods, even Woody Harrelson for the Woods character, but maybe we can find a younger, 'hunkier' version - someone like the actor who plays Superman in the upcoming Superman vs. Batman movie to be released next year. I think his name is Henry Cavill.

      Love your suggestion of Close for Granny.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Megan Fox and Brad Pitt sound like good choices for the lead roles Doc. What about keeping in tune with the names and use James Woods (though you may prefer a younger more hunky actor if there is to be any romantic interest with Allyson) for Dr Woods at the nursing home, and because Granny has a "close call"..maybe Glen Close would fit the bill to play her.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Those Grimm Brothers and others created some really memorable villains, didn't they? The Wolf in Red Riding Hood, and who can forget the old witch (?) in the woods who tried to bake Hansel and Gretel in a giant oven? I much prefer a light humorous touch. Thanks for stopping by, m'dear.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 2 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Hahaha, you updated version of the story is much more optimistic than the original. Children's stories were so morbid back in the day! :-)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      H, Martie - where have you been? I've missed you, m'dear. By all means, introduce your sweet grandkids to Allyson. And you are more than welcome for any smiles found herein.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 years ago from South Africa

      Your version is the best! My granddaughters will surely be able to identify with Little Allison :)

      Thanks for the smile, drbj :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      How sweet of you to sometimes worry about my mental state, dear Paula. But get those worrisome thoughts out of your pretty head, m'dear. If it were not for my extreme flights of fancy, I would be forced to write recipes for Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches. Or the impalement methods of Count Vlad Dracula. Oh, wait a minute, I did write about the latter.

      So happy that you see Allyson as an important and strong role model. And despite any inference, I do agree with your estimation of Brad whatshisname. I promise to try to be gentle with the 'cracking upl'

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Doc.....Sometimes I worry about you. (Speaking of living alone, deep in the woods.) It seems to be working well for your muse. You've made Red...excuse me, "Allyson," a chick for girls to idolize & wolves to fear!

      That's what I call an educational, awesome Fairy Tale! I especially like the inclusion of "Brad," WHO, BTW, no girl in her right mind would fight off! To hell with Grandma!

      YOU CRACK ME UP, DOC!! Thanks!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Making you laugh, Bill, may be one of my finest accomplishments. Seriously! No, I take that back. Make it ... Humorously!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Patricia. Well, that's what I've been aiming for my whole life, m'dear. Getting this funny thing down to a science. Love to know that you love this. So does Allyson.

      What a pleasure to know that you share this. If I don't send you angels it's because you already are one. Trust me.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      I can remember, Ruby, telling the Red Riding Hood fairy tale to my kids when they were small. I always gave them the positive version. My heroine met a baby wolf in the forest and took it home as a pet. Was that a twist or what?

      I like your idea of a series. Now I just have to start engaging my brain to remember some more of those golden oldies. Thanks for your kind words and the vote, m'dear.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Peter. So nice to see you here, mate. I'm trying to learn some strine. Thanks for your kind comments, and the acknowledgement of my Hubbie award.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Jodah, for loving this. If the story is ever brought to the screen, I would insist on Megan Fox playing Red, and Brad Pitt, Mr. Wolfe. Whatcha think?

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Seriously mental? Margaret. I shall cherish that appellation as I do 'incorrigible.' Thanks for noticing my Hubbie award. Recognition is almost better than recompense. Almost!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      As I was growing up, Will, everyone always said I was incorrigible. It's heartwarming to learn that I have not outgrown it. Thanks for the 'classic' comment and I knew y0u would 'get' it.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I've been gone all day and just getting around to emails. Yours was one I simply had to make time for. Why? Because you make me laugh, and that's a gift that keeps on giving.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      You are too have got this whole funny thing down to a science...Allyson, love love this...just what I needed today....

      Angels are on the way to you...

      I do not share many to facebook but this one goes.....G+ tweeted shared

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I like your version better. Can you imagine how the old story scared the children. Your characters, Dr. Woods, Dr. Wolfe and Allyson are cool. I agree with Jodah, you should write a new series of all your modified stories. I didn't lose my vote. You write the best humor!

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 2 years ago from Australia

      Oh you do weave a wicked web? Sorry wrong Fairy Tail ? :)

      Great interpretation of one of my favorite childhood tales !

      Huge congratulations on your Hubbie award , very much deserved :)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great hub rbj, I love your version best. Someone should make a movie of it.

    • profile image

      ArtDiva 2 years ago

      Sometimes...I think you are seriously mental. It really must be in the water, or is it water? Another winner here with Red and Wolfie. And, oh, you won a Hubbie for being the humorist. Well deserved!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      You are incorrigibly funny! This one is a classic, like Allyson Wonderland. (Get it?)