Sunday, October 4, 2009

The 10 bloodiest bedtime stories

At the Independent, Matilda Battersby compiled a list of the ten bloodiest bedtime stories.

One title on the list:
Little Red Riding Hood

"Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a village near the forest. Whenever she went out, the little girl wore a red riding cloak, so everyone in the village called her Little Red Riding Hood..." is the rather innocuous beginning to one of the most twisted bedtime stories there is. The sweet little girl in question secures a rather grisly fate for her poor defenceless grandmother when she blabs to a scary wolf she meets in the forest, telling him her grandmother's address and that she's not very well. The wolf knocks on grandma's door and impersonates Little Red Riding Hood's voice in order to get in, before gobbling grandma up in one go. Not content with his meal, he then takes up cross-dressing, adorning grandma's nightie, mob cap and glasses to await the arrival of her tasty young granddaughter before swallowing her in one go as well. Most modern versions would have you believe that a passing woodcutter heard the little girl's cries and slashed open the wolf with his axe to reveal the unharmed Little Red Riding Hood and granny. But the earliest known version by Charles Perrault (before Brothers Grimm) has no happy ending or retribution apart, perhaps, from a severe case of indigestion for the wolf.
Read about the other bloody bedtime stories.

--Marshal Zeringue