|Little Red Riding Hood|
George Frederic Watts
German is not the best of my multiple basic languages, but for this month, I decided to tackle Little Red Riding Hood. I was hoping that my familiarity with the story would help my stumbling reading and I was right! The story begins with: "There once was a sweet little girl who was loved by everyone who saw her, but was most of all loved by her grandmother, … … "
Even though this story is a version by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the tale of Little Red Riding Hood has existed possibly since before the 10th century, and no one knows definitively where it originated. There is evidence of it appearing in France in the 10th century, and Italy in the 14th century. Not only do numerous versions exist but they occur in widely different areas: La finta nonna (The False Grandmother) in Italy, The Story of Grandmother and even in Oriental tales like Grandaunt Tiger. Although the first written version appeared in the 17th century (by Charles Perrault), scholars surmise that the tale did indeed originate in the 10th or 11th century in Europe and somehow spread to Asia.
|Little Red Riding Hood (1881)|
|Little Red Riding Hood (1883)|
Other tidier versions I've read as an adult, have Grandmother merely hiding in the closet to escape the wolf, or the huntsman rescuing Little Red Riding Hood before she is eaten. Call me bloodthirsty, but I don't care much for these sanitized versions. These stories were meant to inculcate caution in children and the thought of being eaten would be much more effective than the possibility of having a little scare before you are rescued. I imagine, during these times, a properly instilled caution could be the difference between life and death.
What fun to read Little Red Riding Hood in German! Now I won't be so intimidated to tackle another German tale!