I have decided to focus on Little Red Riding Hood for my first theme within the fairy tale series. I have read many versions of this tale and I still like the original Perrault version, apart from the ending. I dont want Little Red or her grandmother to actually die. Maybe I will write my own version with all the best bits from the many re-tellings of the tale.
The illustrations below are by Gustave Doré. This is exactly how I imagined it as a child. Sadly I lost my original books of fairy tales during the itinerant lifestyle I led in my teens and twenties, so I am not sure who they were illustrated by, but it could well have been this artist as they feel so familiar. Gustave Doré reminds me a little bit of Edgar Allan Poe in his looks, his art certainly fits the Poe genre and he did some fantastic illustrations for The Raven.
I like wolves, I have been looking for my own wolf since those lost childhood days, when the biggest treat of the week was Mum coming home from work on Friday evenings, with a Little Red Riding Hood style basket full of gorgeous smelling library books for me to lose myself in. Books were my security and sanctuary then, as they are now.
These images are very suggestive, the way the girl eyes the wolf, and him rubbing himself against her in the woods. She certainly doesn’t look afraid, more daring I would say. I think I like these images because of that, they hint at the deeper meanings of the tale.
Perrault wrote a little poem at the end of his tale, a kind of moral:
Little girls, this seems to say,
Never stop upon your way.
Never trust a stranger-friend;
No one knows how it will end.
As you’re pretty, so be wise;
Wolves may lurk in every guise.
Handsome they may be, and kind,
Gay, or charming never mind!
Now, as then, ‘tis simple truth—
Sweetest tongue has sharpest tooth
Images sourced from: http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/ridinghood/index.html