Red Riding Hood made it onto Google today! I admit, I love Google doodles. For the 200th Anniversary of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Google has a moving storybook of the tale of Red Riding Hood. Though this version is not quite as “Grimm” as I remember the tale–I’ve heard variations where the wolf was not only caught by the huntsmen, but then killed, or in one gruesome version, the wolf’s stomach was filled with stones in place of Red and Grandma and he was allowed to die slowly and horribly.
Fairy tales continue to linger into the modern world despite the fact that we have television, movies, radio, newspapers, and written books to displace all the bedtime stories that were passed down by oral tradition. My Folklorist heart tells me that it’s because they still serve some purpose in today’s world. The story of Red Riding Hood isn’t one of just a little girl wandering in the woods and finding herself at the literal mercy of wolves. It is instead, something that our psyche craves. It’s a way for us to envision ourselves in terrible danger and think, what would I do? And since we’re all still vulnerable to terrible danger on a daily basis–as the nightly news reminds us–we wonder and we think and we plan through the framework of fairy tales, how we would escape the wolf if he was at the door.