== An Austrian/Italian version of [1] Little Red Riding Hood written by Christian Schneller in 1867. ==

Characters Edit

Protagonist: Little Red Hat

This character only described as a granddaughter who was named Little Red Hat by her grandmother. This character draws similarities to her counter part in Little Red Riding Hood, only in this adaptation the innocence and purity of this little girl is put to the way side. Compared to Little Red Riding Hood where the girl is described in great detail as a fragile pretty young girl. This description of the young girl is found in many other adaptations of this tale such as Little Red Cap, and Little Red Hood. The tale of Little Red Cap shows us the bare skeleton and straight to the point version of our protagonist.

Antagonist: Ogre

Introduced on Little Red Hat's path to her grandmothers house, this ogre is the counterpart to the wolf in the other tales. The first striking difference is the fact that this character is an Ogre and not a wolf, but it goes further than that. For instance, in this tale the ogre states that he will go to the same location but takes a different route, in other tales the wolf either races her there or tells the girl about other locations of great scenic beauty to take as a detour. All in common though are the characters' intentions to devour the waiting older female.

In this tale, the ogre goes about his meal and setting up the trap for Little Red Hat in a much more grusome way. The Ogre ties the grandmother's intestine to the door and leaves other body parts like teeth and her jaw in a cupboard for Little Red Hat to find. Whereas in other adaptations, the meal the wolf eats is described in a brief manner and is exempt of other gruesome details.


Summary Edit

“Little Red Hat” is an Italian/Austrian folk tale written by Christian Schneller. The Italian title of this story is “El cappelin rosso” [1[2]].  This folk tale is a variation that follows a similar premise as the original fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” where the little girl leaves her home to deliver food for her grandmother, but the wolf in the story is instead replaced by an ogre [3] as the antagonist, who also has the human capacity for violence [[4]2].

The ogre takes advantage of Little Red Hat’s trust and naivety and brutally kills her grandmother, and then he disguises himself as her grandmother. After Little Red Hat arrives, unknowing her real grandmother has been devoured, the ogre gets the girl to strip naked and climb inside the bed with him. The ogre then devours her.

Plot Edit



One day, Little Red Hat and her grandmother were a field together when her grandmother tells her

granddaughter she is leaving for her home first. She tells Little Red Hat to come by later and bring her soup. The little girl leaves for her home and then went back to set out for her grandmother’s house and meets an ogre on her way there.

The ogre greets the girl and asks her where she is heading, to which she quickly responds to him that she is heading to her grandmother’s house to bring her some soup. The ogre tells her he’ll accompany her to come along and asks her which path she will be taking. She tells him she is going across the stones and the ogre tells her he’ll take the different path by going across the thorns.

After they leave to take their separate ways, Little Red Hat came across a meadow and became distracted by the colorful blooming flowers and picked them as much as she desired. The ogre on the other hand, hurried along his thorny path and arrived at the grandmother’s house before the girl got there. The ogre then went inside the house and killed the grandmother. Before he devoured her, he tied her intestine onto the door in place of the latch string and placed her blood, teeth, and jaws in the kitchen cupboard before climbing into her bed [3[5]].

Just barely after the ogre climbed into the bed, Little Red Hat had arrived at the house and knocked at the door. The ogre disguised his voice to match the deceased grandmother’s and beckoned the girl to come inside the house. When Little Red Hat tried opening the door, she noticed she was pulling on something soft and called out for her grandmother by exclaiming the latch string was soft, not knowing it was her grandmother’s intestine she was pulling on. The ogre tells her to keep quiet twice, and it continues on when Little Red Hat goes into the kitchen cupboard and eats the teeth and jaws and drinks the blood of her grandmother at the instructions of the ogre.

After Little Red Hat finished eating and drinking her grandmother’s remains, she became sleepy and tells the disguised ogre so. The ogre demands her to take her clothes off and get into bed with him, in which Little Red Hat does so, but notices her “grandmother” was hairy. Suddenly, after Little Red Hat inquired about her “grandmother’s” strange appearance, the ogre swallowed Little Red Hat in a single gulp after exclaiming: “That comes from eating children!” [4[6]

Comparison Edit

When people hear the story of Little Red Riding Hood[1], most people imagine the story of the little girl in a red hood going to visit her grandma’s house. A house in the woods, where a wolf has taken her place in order to get the little girl's basket of goodies.

In the Slovakia folktale, Little Red Hat, the story takes a more dark turn. We hear a story more suitable for children. Little Red Hat is not that suitable. The story is rather scary and full of shocking and egregious imagery.

It’s still structured and written in a way that is not too advanced for children or hard to follow. One noticeable difference is the replacement of a werewolf with an ogre. This is also accompanied with the lack of fear of strangers. Red riding hood is thought to stay away from the wolf. In a little red hat, the protagonist is shown casually conversing with the ogre.

The ogre in the story did a horrific thing to the grandma. Not only did the ogre kill her, but he took parts of her body and scattered them around the house. This is not the loveable folktale read by children. Humor, mostly dark. Is still shown Even the humor shown when the ogre is stating the truth about her grandmother’s body parts around the house.

The audience gets to experience the story in places where the girl is actually consuming her grandmother throughout the story. In a way, it’s foreshadowing her own consumption. Of course, the typical pointing out of the odd characteristics occurs and ends with the mouth, which is clever and still egregious. Not only that, but this is also playful with the ending words “one gulp.” Little Red Hat keeps up the similar makings of the story of Little Red Riding Hood but is more vulgar and not as fitting for young children.

Moral of the Folk Tale Edit

One should never interact with strangers no matter how well their intentions may seem. This is especially true with young children as they can be the most gullible, but older folks may fall into this trap, as well. There are sexual tensions that may arise from different gendered interactions. Therefore, it is advised by adults, who have witnessed or heard of most of the malice of the world, that strangers should be avoided at all costs. This is such an important lesson for all children to learn, especially with all the crazy stuff that happens in our everyday world. Even though the story itself is kind of gruesome, gory and inappropriate it is a lesson that all kids need to learn, and sometimes that is the only way to get the message across. These old folktales are great lessons and have great meanings behind them to reach out to young kids. NEVER talk to strangers.

There have been multiple variations of the Little Red Riding Hood folktale. To get a brief understand of some famous authors’ version, like Andrew Lang’s, Brothers Grimm’s, or from the first version by Charles Perrault, visit Maya’s blog.   

Werewolves and Sexuality Edit

In this version of the folk tale, the ogre represents the well-known werewolf antagonist, as he portrays the same sexual desires as the werewolf. Werewolves are usually seen as hyper-masculine figures, which is why female werewolves are rare. (To read more about how the gender aspect of werewolves, check out Lady Greek Girl’s Blog.)

In the Victorian times, gender roles were very strictly defined; women were meant to stay at home and adopt domestic duties (like cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc). The men were off to work at factories, shops, or others places of work. This divide caused different spheres of lives. The women were educated to be a soft, kind, trusting, and in a way naïve person. They were taught to be overly feminine and overly accepting in their gender role. Women who wanted a true education were ostracized. Also, young women were not supposed to be obvious that they were looking for a husband. This would give the impression that they had a bad sexual appetite. Young ladies would marry in their mid-20s and then serve their husbands.

In “Little Red Hat”, these gender roles are shown in the beginning where the granddaughter was with her grandmother in the field. They were together probably washing clothes or other cleaning tasks. The grandmother tells the granddaughter to bring soup to her later. This shows the gender roles of the women cooking; it also shows the different worlds because the two women saw each other in the morning and then they both went to do something else and then they are meeting again at night for dinner. The next gender role is when the granddaughter chose to go through the stones because there was a meadow of flowers down that path, which is very feminine. The ogre chose to go through the thorns because that is more manly. When the granddaughter gets to the door, she notices something soft but does not notice anything else besides it being soft. This is an example of the gender role because even though it is her grandmother’s intestine, she just notices that it is soft, which is typically how a women is described.

Due to the loneliness of the ogre, he must fend for himself. He must figure out creative ways in which he can fulfill his craving for sexual desires. The werewolf is a dominant character; he is able to eat the grandmother and the child and trick them into following his orders.

Over time, werewolves are seen through different contexts, but each of them have similar underlying themes about sexuality. In “The Werewolf’s Daughter”, the werewolf father is actually afraid of his daughter’s sexuality. His children are all so beautiful and marriageable, making him anxious for the future. In order to cope with his problems, he successfully kills all but his last child.

Little Red Hat as a Cautionary Tale Edit

The folk tale Little Red Hat is a story meant for children, similar to other versions of Little Red Riding Hood [2]. Little Red Hat is a young girl with flaws that ultimately lead to her and her grandmother’s demise. Little Red Hat makes many choices throughout the tale that all together lead to an easily avoidable death. The first of these mistakes was her talking to the ogre. The ogre, much like the traditional wolf, is a figure not to be trusted. Despite the obvious danger of talking to strangers, she places her trust into an ogre, of all creatures. The little girl’s blind trust in this obviously sinister character is a warning to children, especially young girls, to not talk to strangers.

The girl, despite being given a task, becomes distracted by flowers on the way to her grandmother’s house. Even though she is unaware of the danger, her distraction allows the ogre to get to the house first, despite taking the treacherous thorny trail. The tale paints a grim picture of the grandmother being eaten unbeknownst to the girl picking flowers next to the trail. The stony path being shorter, Little Red Hat could have gotten there before the ogre had she remained on task. The lesson to be learned here is that children should stay focused on a given task, and not be distracted by seemingly more exciting things.

Little Red Hat’s last fatal mistake was in her poor listening skills. Repeatedly, the ogre gives away his disguise in the things he tells Little Red Hat to do. “Drink and keep quiet. It is your grandmother’s blood!” the ogre says to the girl. She replies with an innocent “What did you just say?”[3] If she had been listening closely to the words of her so-called grandma, she might have realized that it was the ogre. This part of the tale implies that children who don’t listen could end up like Little Red Hat.

Themes of Innocence and Growing Up Edit

The story of Little Red Hat is one of tragedy and horror. The young girl who comes to visit her grandmother is young and innocent, unaware of the potential evils that are present in the world around her. The child has grown up in an environment of comfort where she has not encountered wicked acts such as murder and cannibalism that are commonplace to the monster who tricks her in the story. Unlike other depictions of the tale such as Charles Perrault's "Little Red Riding Hood"[4] this story provides many gruesome details that truly describe how mangled the poor girl's grandmother has become. A few examples of this are as follows, taken from "Little Red Hat"[5]

Little Red Hat tried to open the door, but when she noticed that she was pulling on something soft, she called out, "Grandmother, this thing is so soft!" "Just pull and keep quiet. It is your grandmother's intestine!"

Little Red Hat went to the cupboard and took out the jaws. "Grandmother, this is very red!" "Eat and keep quiet. They are your grandmother's jaws!"

Little Red Hat went to the cupboard and took out the blood. "Grandmother, this wine is very red!" "Drink and keep quiet. It is your grandmother's blood!

The naive girl in this story does not understand the gravity of the situation, and frequently questions why things seem out of place. This theme of questioning continues throughout the narrative, as the girl slowly uncovers more and more evidence that her grandmother has suffered a horrific fate. This evidence however, is foreign to her, and she does not understand blatant statements made by the monster such as "It is your grandmother's blood!" This lack of understanding can be applied to children as a whole, who often don't realize the implications of events that happen around them. An example of this is the misunderstanding that occurs among children whose parents are going through a divorce.[6] There is often a long process of questioning that happens where children in these situations struggle to understand the gravity of the situation they are in. From this comparison, it is understandable why the young girl did not realize that she was being lured into a trap until it was too late. The tragic fate of the child can be seen as a metaphor that describes the loss of innocence experienced by children surrounded by issues such as marital disputes and abuse of any kind. These children simply do not have the life experience necessary to fully grasp the complicated concepts playing out in front of them.

References Edit

[Sabine Baring-Gould. “The Werewolf’s Daughter.” The Book of Werewolves: Being an Account of a Terrible Superstition. London: Smith, Elder, and Company, 1865. 124-138. Print.]

[Schneller, Christian. "Little Red Riding Hood." Little Red Hat. Trans. D. L. Ashliman. N.p., 2005. Web.14Apr. 2017.]

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