The folktale that the world has come to know as “Little Red Riding Hood” stems from many cultures around the world. There are several variations of the story as interpreted by each culture it was passed to such as French, Chinese, and even back to Greek myths. There are records of it originally being written by Perrault in France during the 1600s, known as “Le Petit Chaperon Rouge”. The plot line for Red Riding Hood is simple, but again has evolved over time as told extemporaneously. There is a girl who is considered the most beautiful in the land who appears innocent and meek, who is sent on an errand from her mother to deliver goods to her sick grandmother. Little Red Riding hood is cautioned by her mother to speak to no one as she delivers the goods, but as Little Red Riding hood gets distracted on her way to her grandmothers, she ends up speaking to a wolf and telling him where she is going. The wolf beats the young girl to her grandmother’s house and eats the grandmother, while awaiting Little Red Riding Hood.
A variation of the story can be represented from the Austrian tale “The Little Red Hat” because instead of a wolf, there is an ogre that replaces the wolf. The theme of story is also changed as it varies from being comical to be grisly and violent, as it is mentioned in “Little Red Hat” that after the ogre kills the grandmother he “also tied her intestine onto the door in place of the latch string and placed her blood, teeth, and jaws in the kitchen cupboard”. Another version of Red Riding Hood offers a happy ending of the little girl being eaten, but then as the wolf is killed by a hunter, the little girl is cut out of the wolf’s stomach and is alive.
The moral of the story is translated to real life that children should not speak to strangers. To go even further, for the gender roles of women it exemplifies that women should not walk alone and speak to strangers. The description of Little Red Riding Hood, as well as Little Red Hat describes her as exceptionally beautiful and matches the traditional gender stereotypes of a woman. Not to mention that the ogre and the wolf both easily overpower the women in the tale. The grandmother and the granddaughter are also both fooled by the male of the story, and in the end they are seen as weaker and less able than the predatory male. Regardless, from a young age as children and as women we are warned against strangers and men, and we are told that strangers cannot be trusted because one cannot be sure of their intentions. The adaptations from each culture manage to keep hold of the lesson, for the story has a purpose in educating young children on the dangers that lurk outside in the world.