In one of the first versions of Red Riding Hood, Granny is not only eaten by the wolf, he also puts her meat in the cupboard and a bottle of her blood on the shelf. When Red comes in he urges her to eat the meat and drink the “wine”. After she does, a cat walks by and calls her a slut for eating her own grandmother.
In this version, Red strips for the wolf, asking what she should do with each article of clothing. She’s told to throw each one on the fire, as she won’t need it anymore.
Red poses the infamous questions that lead her to realize that this is NOT her grandmother.
She asks one final question: “Can I go to the bathroom”?
She escapes the house and runs home. By the time the wolf realizes he has been duped, it is too late.
At least Red survives, thanks to her own quick thinking and shrewdness.
The notion of using fairy tales as a way to enforce gender roles and class morals probably began in the 17th century in the court of King Louis XIV.
Little Red Riding Hood was meant as a warning for young girls to be wary of the wolves in the court and to protect their virginity at all costs.
It was their only bargaining chip for an upper-class husband. Without it, they had nothing.
In this version, any independence or quick thinking was stripped away. The red cloak is also introduced for the first time.
In France red cloaks were typically worn by prostitutes – something I’m sure wasn’t lost on the young women this story was told to.
In particular, the maidens of the court of King Louis XIV had to look out for his bisexual cross-dressing brother.
Apparently, he enjoyed dressing up as a woman and going into the women’s only salons where he would lay in one of the beds and urge other young ladies to climb in with him.
He would proceed to and sometimes successfully seduce them, sometimes without anyone else in the salon being any the wiser as he hid his actions underneath his vast skirts or the blankets of the bed he was lying in!
In France, at the time, rape was considered a woman’s fault and got her either banished or killed if she came forward with the crime.
This is why Red dies, and stays dead at the end.
Enjoy Read A Fairy Tale Day.
Siobhan is a freelance writer, research addict and lover of twisted history. If you like horrible but amazing history, check out her website www.interesly.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/interesly. Or you can reach her through www.siobhanoshea.com.