Faery Tale Friday; Little Red Riding Hood

I absolutely adore fairy tales, the darker the better, and one of my favourites is Little Red Riding Hood or sometimes known as Little Red Cap. It is French in origin and dates back to the 10th century. Of course it would have been told orally and over the centuries each story teller would have embellished the tale with each and every telling.

Illustration by Gustave Dore (1883)

The earliest known printed version was called Le Petit Chaperon Rouge by Charles Perrault. This is a very moralistic tale where the hapless Miss Hood naively gives the wiley wolf directions to her Grandmama’s house. He arrives before the girl, devours Grandmama then, after donning the old lady’s clothes, gets into bed and invites Little Red Riding Hood to join him. After pointing out all his distinguishing features, yet still failing to notice his wolfish good looks, Miss Hood follows the fate of her dear Grandmama and is gobbled up by the beast. There is no happy ending.

File:Carl Larsson - Little Red Riding Hood 1881.jpg

Little Red Riding Hood by one of my favourite artists Carl Larsson (1881)

Of course the Brothers Grimm version cleaned things up a bit and introduced a woodcutter who saved both Granny and Little Red Riding Hood. There is of course no happy ending for the wolf. But my favourite adaptation is The Company of Wolves by Angela Carter. Taken from her book of short stories, The Bloody Chamber, it tells the dark and savage tale of a werewolf who charms a young virgin walking through the woods to her Granny’s house. As in the original story he tricks her into telling him the location of the cottage then races ahead. Poor Granny is devoured and he lies in wait for the girl. However, on entering the house she spies a tuft of white hair burning in the fireplace.

When the girl saw that she knew she was in danger of death. “Where is my Grandmother?” “There’s nobody here but we two, my darling” Now a great howling rose up all around them…the howling of a multitude of wolves….”These are the voices of my brothers darling; I love the company of wolves.”

Carter’s story is inspired by the very early versions of the tale and her young woman triumphs over the wolf.

There must be as many illustrations for this story as there are versions of the tale itself. So I thought I would add to them.

Faery tale Friday Sketch

My Little Red Riding Hood

 

Faery Tale Friday Composition

What big eyes you have.

FaeryTale Friday Little Red Riding Hood

Faery Tale Friday; Little Red Cap

Do you have a favourite version of Little Red Riding Hood?

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17 thoughts on “Faery Tale Friday; Little Red Riding Hood

  1. I enjoyed this post very much because I thought the story originated with the Brothers Grim. I actually laughed out loud at the thought of the Brothers Grimm cleaning a story up. I am sure you will understand why. I love your illustrations. My son isn’t home at the moment but as soon as he gets in I will be sharing this with him. We both love to read about the origin of stories. 🙂

  2. I studied The Bloody Chamber at A Level and it too is my favourite retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood story. The rest of the stories in it are amazing too, one of my faves being The Tiger’s Bride which many in my class despised. Also, your illustrations are beautiful, Cathy,

  3. I love your walk through of the tale and how you highlight different versions! I love learning about the origins, as so many fairy tales have been “cleaned up” by current versions and its interesting to trace their lineage and what the implications of these recreations has been. I’m currently reading a Little Red inspired book so this was a perfect background to go into it with!

    • Yes, the Marissa Meyer series. I really want to read those. One of my favourite novels is Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan a dark retelling of Snow white, Rose Red. And I’ve just finished Tinder by Sally Gardner another wonderfully powerful reimagining of a fairy tale, The Tinder Box.

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