Before his major animated films, Walt Disney released animated shorts titled Silly Symphonies. In 1934, the Silly Symphony short, “The Big Bad Wolf”, featured Little Red Riding hood along with the Three Little Pigs. The plot consists of Little Red Riding Hood ignoring the “Practical Pig’s” advice of taking the long way to her grandmother’s house and taking the shortcut through the forest instead. There Little Red Riding Hood encounters the Big Bad Wolf, though she’s able to escape from him. Afterwards, she heads on to her grandmother’s house only to find that the wolf had already beaten her to it. In this Disney version, the wolf is taken care of in a comical and innocent way, where no harm is actually done to Little Red Riding Hood or her grandmother, and all the wolf gets is a burnt butt.
Click on the following image to watch Disney’s animated short, “The Big Bad Wolf”.
However, this is just the sugarcoated version created by Disney. The oldest recorded version of the story is found in Charles Perrault’s Tales of past times published in 1697. In this version, Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother are not saved and instead are eaten by the wolf.
Another version was published by the Grimm Brothers where the wolf devours both Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother, yet they are saved by the huntsman. The Huntsman cuts open the wolf’s stomach while he was sleeping on the grandmother’s bed and frees Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. Afterwards, they fill the wolf’s insides with stones that are too heavy for him and eventually kill him.
Furthermore, in a traditional Brittany version of the 19th century, the wolf fills bottles with the grandmother’s blood and makes Little Red Riding Hood drink them.
So you see, there have been many versions of this fairy tale. A lot of them being extremely gruesome. Still, most versions have been quite faithful to the famous dialogue between Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, maintaining the story’s main focus:
‘Oh! grandmother,’ she said, ‘what big ears you have!’
‘All the better to hear you with, my child,’ was the reply.
‘But, grandmother, what big eyes you have!’ she said.
‘All the better to see you with, my dear.’
‘But, grandmother, what large hands you have!’
‘All the better to hug you with.’
‘Oh! but, grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have!’
‘All the better to eat you with!’
So, whether Little Red Riding Hood is eaten by the Big Bad Wolf or saved by the Huntsman, there are numbers of versions for this story, not quite so innocent and sweet as Disney’s animated short. Also, we know that there are not only written versions, there are many films and shorts based on this fairy tale, too. Today the most recent one is the 2011 film Red Riding Hood, also there’s the 2005 animated film, Hoodwinked, the famous television series Once Upon A Time also presents a version of this fairy tale, and many more.
My favorite version is the animated short “Red“ directed by Jorge Jaramillo and Carlo Guillot. The short takes this fairytale to a whole new level where no grandmother or huntsman saves Little Red Riding Hood, and instead, this fierce and emotional character saves herself. I recommend it!
Well, until our next once upon a time… Adieu 😉