Friday, February 6, 2015

What can we learn from LITTLE Red Riding Hood?

#RedRidingHood By #SkottieYoung

Once in a while I wander around out in the hood just looking to see what I can find. #fairtales was the tag I happened onto on Google+. I had been reading a blog called The Owl's Skull written by a Jessica McCort, an educator out there in the world somewhere. The name of the article I read was Let's Have a Little Chat about what "Cinderella" Really Means. She pointed out that her students interpret what they read based on life experience and preconceived notions and do not see the words on the page. I found it very interesting. The label she used on Google+ was #fairytale.

So there I was on the #fairytale page on Google+ when the image you see above caught my eye. This innocent little girl is the one that helped out-fox that very evil looking wolf lurking in the background...with a little help from a woodsman with a very sharp ax! The story had all the components that make up a perfect tale about good vs evil. The little girl's name was Little Red Riding Hood.

I have always thought that each fairy tale tells two stories; the one on the page and one that lurks in the back ground. That is why I am always looking for a back story. This is the one with a very old bedridden grandmother left on her own in the woods to deal with any "wolf" that came to her door. As I remember in the story I read in my Grimm's Fairy Tales book, she ended up getting eaten. Every grandmother alive is hoping that no such fate comes to them. Like all fairy tales there are many versions but the one I know has the woodsman cutting the wolf open so the grandma can live to see another day. Old fairy tales didn't shy away from gore and blood.

So, how did it happen that the bed-ridden grandmother ended up living such a lonely life? Why would a little girl be sent off into a dangerous wood alone? Where are the parents of the child and the child of the parent in this story? And, I always wondered how any one wolf could be that greedy and hungry! I also wondered if a wolf eats a person, is he a cannibal?

While a lot has changed since the first version was written, a lot has not. When you think about it, our children still wander through the forest. They go a home where there are no parents to be seen. And there are many grandmothers living in the woods waiting for Red Riding Hood and opening the door to find the wolf.

There are lessons to be learned from those old tales even today. I wish the grandmother in Red Riding Hood had been stronger and maybe excised a little more so she didn't end up in bed. If she was cranky and mean and ended up alone for that reason, I wish she had been nicer. If society and family turned their back on her, I wish someone had seen her need. And I often wonder where that woodsman was BEFORE the wolf ate everyone up. We need to destroy the big bad wolf that scams and that eat the weak and helpless alive as quickly as we can.

So I am still learning from the fairy tales. Give your own very old fairy tale a closer look and see what you can find. Remember to think about the back-story and see what it has to teach you.

Be well.



  1. I've often thought that there is nothing scarier than a fairytale! Or, Disney. Did they really have to shoot Bambi's mother and burn up his father in the woods? Or was it the other way around? Terrible, nonetheless. Not sure what the message is on that one!

    1. Kathleen,
      I lived in a community of hunters. Bambi really did bring a lot of those children to a place that recognized that every living creature has value. I suppose they all still hunt deer and elk so I don't suppose it changed anything. I found it terrifying as a child when I saw the movie. I guess it is all about the survival and a happy (sorta) ending.

  2. very cool....

    I like posts, which delve into the thoughts of the blogger. they cause the blog reader, to delve into her thoughts too. win! win!



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