Under The Little Red Riding Hood

Hello to another day of wondrous fairy tales! Once again, this event is hosted by Charlene of Bookish Whimsy and Ana of Read Me Away. Do check out their blogs for links to other fantastic posts on various fairy tales. Meanwhile, read on as I interest you with some tidbits about Little Red Riding Hood and her author!


Note: If there are any facts that I got wrong, please do correct me for while I did my research, it was pretty light and not all that in-depth.
Warning: Very long post ahead!

The Author

The original author of Little Red Riding Hood is Charles Perrault and it was very interesting to read about his life, at least on the surface. I tried reading further but I got distracted by the more colourful history of the Kings that Charles had came into contact with. (That's a story for another day!)


Tuileries Gardens
[By Poulpy (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

The facts I loved most from his profile are to do with these beautiful gardens. Perrault may be a lawyer but he definitely has an eye for beautiful things and he is not selfish about sharing them! He is the one who requested that the Tuileries Gardens be opened to the public and it did! Another wondrous garden he had "helped" in was the Gardens of Versailles. Back in late 1600s, Perrault advised the King to build fountains based on Aesop's Fables -- I think they were beautiful, based on the pictures alone, I imagine the real thing must have been magnificent. However, it was replaced shortly later by another King because it was just too costly to maintain such a luxurious work (and y'know, Kings don't really appreciate their people calling them spendthrifts).


Fountain of Fox & Crane in the Garden of Versailles
[By Jacques Bailly [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]
On to the more bookish facts! Perrault did not became well-known for his poetry and stories until he was past his fifties. The tales that he is now most famous for, such as Puss in Boots, Cinderella and of course, Little Red Riding Hood, was only published in a thin book of only 8 tales in 1697. By this year, Perrault was already 69 years old. So, writers aspiring to be published out there! Worry not, your time shall come! (I think his first publication was only 3-4 years earlier so... still, do not worry!)

The fun part about this volume of tales I mentioned is that it was published under the name of Perrault's son -- Pierre. Researchers have found almost no evidence to indicate that Pierre was the author, or even that it was a collaboration so it was totally Charles' work. I think it's fun to come up with theories about why this was done but then Wikipedia ruined it by telling me it was to introduce Pierre into the society then. Though! It didn't talk about Pierre's consent about this so I reckon this is another point good to conspire about.

I found a good old link that I will share with you here that compiles a series of fairy tales from the old. I do recommend getting Grimm's version too because it's different, but this one is free and it is a scanned copy of an ages old book. It has the feel of old to it that I like because it just... puts you back in time. Check out some old-time stories right here!

The Story: Little Red Riding Hood / Little Red Cap

There are actually 2 versions to this fairy tale, I like to call Grimms' version the expanded one. Perrault's original fairy tale ended with Red being eaten. It goes to tell readers of the moral -- never stray and be wary of wolves (or strangers). Or some mommies prefer -- listen to your mom!

On the other hand, the Grimms' version continued on to have the huntsman passing by and saving both Red and her grandmother, sort of like a happy ending. I feel that it has the same moral as the original but I thought there's an additional one because of the wolf's demise. Probably something with retribution or karma, like "what goes around comes around"! There is also an alternative ending where no huntsman appear but grandmother was smart enough to lure the wolf to its death.

While Little Red Riding Hood is not my favourite fairy tale because you don't see any kind of remorse or reflection from her, I would say I prefer the version where the huntsman appears. Because for one, I like heroes, and for another reason, the evil of the story is not left out to roam. As the quote goes:


In this case, it would be that wolves can be killed.

However! I have to add that the respinning and retelling of this particular tale has been nothing short of stellar and some actually gives Red more character than the original girl. Come back tomorrow to discuss the various retellings I will be bloggnig about!

Comments

  1. Wow I know of Charles Perrault, but I had no idea he was older when he first got published! That is heartening news indeed! And amazing that he has become so associated with fairy tales, when he got into it so late (or at least got into a more public profile later) And I wonder if the book of tales did help Pierre get into society! Maybe once there people were disappointed when he couldn't tell a good story like in the book. :)


    I much prefer the Grimm's version of Little Red Riding Hood. It's much more satisfying (though wholly unbelievable) to have the wolf killed and Red and her grandmother get out of it alive.

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  2. Definitely an interesting perspective on the tale, and the different "endings." I like that one where the grandmother is smart enough to beat the wolf, because she's the unexpected hero, haha! :D

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