The classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood has been around for generations, but ultimately has roots that stem as early as the 10th century. The most popular versions include the those written by Charles Perrault and Wilhelm Grimm. Although they both tell relatively the same story of a naive girl going to visit her grandmother, but who ends up being tricked by a predatory wolf, they have a number of variations between them. The main difference between the two is the huntsman who comes to the rescue of the grandmother and girl in Grimm’s version. He “drew off the wolf's skin and went home with it; the grandmother ate the cake and drank the wine which Red Riding Hood had brought, and revived” (Grimm).
The general moral behind the story of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf is that you must not trust strangers. This theme delves deeper into the idea that the wolf can resemble a sexual predator that takes advantage of naive girls who are alone and easily targeted. It is obviously a darker way to look at the story as a lesson, but incidents like it happen every day. Grimm's version of the tale ends with Little Red Riding Hood saying "As long as I live, I will never leave the path by myself to run into the wood, when my mother has forbidden me to do so", basically reaffirming the message that children should obey their parents and never stray (Grimm).
Of course, there have been other stories like this one that originate in different areas of the world. A popular one from Italy and Austria called Little Red Hat, features an ogre in place of the wolf. This variation also involves the ogre slaughtering the grandmother and tricking the girl into eating/drinking her blood and eating her jaws (Schneller). It’s definitely a more gruesome take on the story behind the lesson, but the idea is still clear that trusting people who you know you shouldn't could land you in trouble.
Grimm, Jacob, Wilhelm Grimm, and Bernadette Watts. Little Red Riding Hood. New York: North-South, 2011. Print.
Perrault, Charles. Little Red Riding Hood. Place of Publication Not Identified: Classic Comic Store, 2016. Print.
Schneller, Christian. "Das Rothhütchen," Märchen und Sagen aus Wälschtirol: Ein Beitrag zur deutschen Sagenkunde (Innsbruck: Verlag der Wagner'schen Universitäts-Buchhandlung, 1867), no. 6, pp. 9-10. Translated by D. L. Ashliman. © 2007.