Little Red Riding Hood Today
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
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.*
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.
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.
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* 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."