Grim(m) Stories: Little Red Riding Hood – She did see the wolf

Little Red Riding Hood, as I call it, is called “Little Red Cap” in the original, Grimm brothers, version. That is because her grandmother, who loves the girl very dearly gave her a red cap. I suppose it was like one of those Christmases where your aunt gives you socks or something.

“Thank you – I’ve… always… wished for… this.”

One day, her grandmother falls ill and Little Red Riding Hood’s mother tells her to grab a cake and bottle of wine and bring it to her grandmother. The mother’s giving really strict instructions: Don’t go off the path; don’t spill the bottle; say hello nicely and don’t peep into the corners.

So Little Red Riding Hood goes off through the forest and meets a wolf. (Now you have to know that a girl who “saw the wolf” meant that she had lost her virginity before marriage. Whole new take on it all.)

And Little Red Riding Hood doesn’t think, O! A wolf. That’s not good! Because, you know, it’s a wolf –  but she starts talking to him instead. She tells him all about how she visits her grandmother and where that grandmother lives and the wolf makes this plan to eat them both. Which is fair enough, seen as he’s a wolf.

So the wolf says: “Look, Little Red Riding Hood, why don’t you pick of some flowers from this flower bed?”

And Little Red Riding Hood thinks briefly about her mother’s instructions but decides to just forget about that and while she’s busy picking up flowers the wolf sets off towards her grandmother’s.

He knocks and says that he’s Little Red Riding Hood. Now, I would assume that a wolf sounds somewhat different than a little girl, but meh.

So the wolf goes in and eats the grandmother. I’m not sure what that is supposed to tell me in terms of “seeing the wolf”.

Little Red Riding Hood arrives and finds the wolf in her grandmother’s clothes. She doesn’t suspect a thing. What does the grandmother look like?

So then comes the part that we all know and love. What big ears/eyes/hands you have! – The better to hear/see/hug you with.

I wonder how long he would have continued this but with her fourth question, the wolf is able to deliver this killer punch-line:
“What big teeth you have!” – “The better to eat you with!”

So the wolf jumps up and eats Little Red Riding Hood and gets so cosy that he falls asleep in the bed.

Trouble is, the wolf is snoring pretty loudly and thus attracts the attention of a huntsman. So that guy walks in, finds the wolf, and thinks: Well, maybe he has eaten the grandmother, better cut him open and free her. WUT? So, he cuts open the wolf, who doesn’t even budge. Again, what do these people think you can sleep through? Neither can you sleep through childbirth nor through getting your belly cut open!

Anyways, Little Red Riding Hood jumps out, unharmed, and the grandmother follows. How does this wolf eat? He’s more like a giant snake, a Basilisk or something, he just swallows his prey whole.

So they put stones in his belly and when he awakes, he dies because of those (? I remember them dropping him into a river, but that’s not in the original).
We didn’t reach happily-ever-after yet, because Little Red Riding Hood returns another day, meets a wolf again, but doesn’t talk to him. Tells her grandmother all about it, so when the wolf arrives, they don’t open the door and he jumps onto the roof to wait for Little Red Riding Hood to leave. The grandmother has made sausages, though, and she’s still got water in which she boiled those and pours that somewhere, so the wolf sniffs it. Leans off the roof, falls down and drowns in the water.

Happily ever after.

So, I guess the moral of that story is: Don’t go off the path, you might meet a wolf. Might get eaten or you know… see the wolf.

You can read Litte Red Riding Hood/ Little Red Cap in the Grimm brothers’ version here.

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