23 Nov 2013

RE(A)D ALL ABOUT WHAT BIG EARS GRANDMA HAS.

 Ah the story of Little Red Riding Hood (aka Little Red Cap), her grandmother and the big bad wolf who is rather partial to eating little girls though whether he prefers them rare, medium or well done is up for debate. I don't know about you but this was one of my favourite childhood stories. 

Long believed to be French in origin, the story known as Le Petit Chaperon Rouge was first published as part of an anthology by Charles Perrault in 1697 and then in the nineteenth century by others including the 'Brothers Grimm (a version of which can be read HERE), Andrew Lang (The True History Of Little Goldenhood) and James N. Barker (a 1000 word story that was later printed in a collection of stories called the Cyclopedia of Wit and Humor.

Well known across all of Europe. The theme of the 'wolf' and of the creature (in this instance 'grandma') emerging from its belly is reflected in many other stories ('Peter And The Wolf', 'The Wolf And The Seven Young Kids' and Jim C. Hines's 'The Red Path' included) and may well be as old as the biblical story of Jonah And The Whale. 

Indeed research and phylogenetic analysis - a technique normally reserved for biologists examining the relationships between organisms -  conducted by scientists at the Durham of University concluded that although there are dozens of versions of the story they all come from a common source .....


'Rather like a biologist showing that humans and apes share a common ancestor but have evolved into distinct species'
Dr Jamie Tehrani (Anthropologist)

But what of these other versions, these 'distinct species? 

Well ......
  • Whilst in Europe the story features a wolf, the Chinese version features a tiger, others an ogre or a bzou (werewolf)
  • In Iran where it is considered strange for a young girl to roam alone 'Red Riding Hood' is a boy
  • Some versions have a lumberjack come to the rescue whilst other versions have it that it is a hunter
  • Some more sanitised versions see Grandma locked in a cupboard instead of being eaten, whilst others have Red Riding Hood saved by the huntsman before she is devoured, and yet others see her escapes after asking to use the toilet
  • Depending on the translation Red Riding Hood is delivering grape juice and banana bread, or wine and cake to her grandmother.
To read the full paper, Science on the trail of The Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood, in which the origins of the story are discussed click HERE.

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12 comments:

So many books, so little time said...

I read the version as a kid with grandma in the cupboard, think that was our schools version.

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

Karen said...

Wow that's fascinating! It never even occurred to me that there would be other versions of the tale.

Suko said...

Interesting that there are so many versions of this fairy tale!

Kalyan Panja said...

Nice reading that.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I guess it makes sense that the story would change to fit various cultures. Interesting post!

Naida said...

Interesting, all the different versions of Red Riding Hood.

Brian Joseph said...

Fascinating post! I love it when the origins of these stories are dug into. Of course they say so much about human and thought.

R. Ramesh said...

good post as usual tracy..awesome as usual..sorry I could not be in touch for sometime..am gearing up for an important, happy family event in feb..dear blog friends like you are always in my mind..thanks for all the encouragement:) best wishes always:)

Kelly said...

I've always liked this tale, too, and know I've read several versions in my time. I enjoyed seeing more variations here.

Camila Rafaela Felippi said...

I didn't know it is a French story...
I always liked the Little Red! Last year me and my classmates made a theater and I was the Little red :D

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I always enjoyed this story when I was little. I remember the grandmother escaping in the version I read. I love that there are so many different version out there. :)

Betty Manousos said...

i always enjoyed the red riding hood.
interesting that there are so many versions of this tale...amazing!

big hugs~