I’m in Orlando attending the annual convention of the National Council of Teachers of English. I was a presenter at two sessions on Friday. I was so busy for several days preparing for my presentations that I didn’t have time to research stories and write-up posts about them for the Turley Blawg this weekend. I decided to dust off an old case that I found in my Fairy Tale Crimebusters File. It’s a tale of a horrible crime against humanity committed by a dastardly lupine villain who enjoyed preying on Homo sapiens of all ages. Fortunately, the two crime victims in this case were rescued and the gluttonous perpetrator of the evil deed was swiftly—and capitally—punished.
In the Case of Little Red Riding Hood:
A wily wolf waited in the wood.
He coaxed sweet Red to pick wildflowers,
Then sneaked away and GULP! devoured
Dear old Granny, jumped in bed
With Granny’s bonnet on his head.
The wolf, alas, was not yet through.
When Red arrived, he ate her, too!
His belly full, his eyelids closed.
He licked his chops and, snoring, dozed.
Anon, a whistling huntsman passed,
Heard loud snoring, was aghast
To find the wolf in deep repose,
All gussied up in Granny’s clothes.
The huntsman raised his knife and cut
A deep slit in the culprit’s gut.
Then out crawled Granny, Little Red.
All three pronounced the sly wolf dead.
In one German version of the Little Red Riding Hood/Little Red Cap tale, the wolf’s belly is filled with stones. When the wolf awakens, he tries to run away—but the stones are too heavy and he falls down dead.
If you relish a bit of violence with your fairy tales, I recommend reading Grimms’ Tales for Young and Old: The Complete Stories, which was translated by Ralph Manheim. The villains in German folklore often suffer harsh punishments. In Ashputtle—the “Cinderella” story in Manheim’s book, one stepsister cuts off a toe and the other cuts off the heel of her foot in hopes of fitting their feet into the slipper embroidered with silk and silver. At the end of the story, doves peck out both eyes of the elder stepsister and one of the eyes of the younger stepsister. In Snow White, the evil stepmother is sent an invitation to her stepdaughter’s wedding. When the stepmother arrives for the wedding and enters the hall, she recognizes Snow White. The stepmother is so terrified she can’t move. She is forced to step into hot iron shoes that had been heated in glowing coals and dance to her death. How’s that for punishment?
Note: Mr. Manheim’s career began in 1943 with his translation of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.” (Source: New York Times)
– Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger