Friday, 16 November 2012

Day 16 NaBloPoMo - Red Riding Hood

So I have loved fairy tales all my life, although up until fairly recently I had only really heard about the most popular ones. Until Deb sent me down the rabbit hole with this post sparking a little obsession. I now own a copy of the Joseph Jacobs book she featured, along with a few other collections of fairy or folk tales (yes they have taken over one whole shelf of a bookcase and then some). I am so glad that I found Deb and her love of fairy tales that rekindled the love in me. As an adult experiencing the tales they hold a whole new depth that I didn't understand before.

Last weekend I was treated to a sneaky peak of some photos a super talented friend of mine had taken for a commission, hence I can't share them with you :-( but you can take a look at his blog and other work here. Any way I digress, in amongst these shots was a little girl, in the forest, wearing a red coat. I'm sure you can already guess where my mind was heading, but it was helped along by the look of the photo, it had kind of a timeless quality to it. If not for the jeans and modern coat it could have been straight out of a fairy tale!

So for the second Fairy Tale Friday we are therefore off for a walk in the woods to Grandma's house:

Little Red Riding Hood is a classic fairy tale with many incarnations. From Perrault's brutal, dark and almost sexual story with no happy ending. Through the Grimm's version where the huntsman saves the day. To the 2011 film staring Amanda Seyfried, hinting at earlier versions of the tale where Red Riding Hood unwittingly cannibalises her own grandmother along with the added twist of young love. Whoever said that fairy tales were for kids needs their heads looking at!!

I have never really been sure about this tale. It's moral was all too blatant for me, Red is always a little too naive and not mentioning the general absurdity of cutting open the wolf to find Red and her grandmother perfectly unharmed after spending a good half hour plus with no access to oxygen. However, the imagery of the girl in a forest wearing a red cape and skipping off to her grandmother's cottage is so iconic, it gets under my skin and starts the cogs a turning in my mind.

Do you ever find yourself wishing the characters in a story would do something different? Does your mind ever wander off thinking what if......? Take a chance, do it! Fairy tales come from generations of story tellers telling and re-telling their tales. I hurts my brain sometimes to wonder how many times tales like Little Red Riding Hood changed before people like the Grimm Brothers wrote them down and preserved them. Was the tale a true story about a girl in the next village who wandered off in the forest and met an unfortunate end? Has it just morphed into this fantastical fairy tale with a happy endings because the world was (is) too full of horror that we needed to believe there are happy endings somewhere?

Just for a little side enjoyment here is a rendition of Roald Dahl's twist on the classic

Are you up for a challenge? For next Friday, take Little Red Riding Hood and make it your own. Re-tell it the way you want to, modernise it, tell the story of what happened next. You can either post it on your blog and pop the link in the comments or e-mail me your story and I will post it here next week. Go be the story teller of your clan and lets see what direction Red goes in.


  1. Great challenge! I'll have to try it!

  2. Uh, yes please? Oh how much did I love this post. It was like a little shot of something good, that's keeping my belly warm long after reading it. And then to pick up your challenge and run with it, red cape and all, double-yes-please.

    Thanks for this, Sleepy Joe. I've been needing a pleasant change of characters in my head. Let's see what Red looks like from this angle...

    1. Glad to be of service, you have done the same for me so many times ;-)

      Can't wait to see what you come up with!!


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