Let's be honest, "Little Red Riding Hood" is a pretty gruesome tale. Wolves, strangers, dark forests, big teeth, devoured grandmothers, and an axe. Not your typical Disney special.
In 1976, Bruno Bettelheim wrote a book called The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. It's been a while since I read the book, so I will just quote from Wikipedia (please excuse my laziness...it's late!).
In the book, Bettelheim discusses the emotional and symbolic importance of fairy tales for children, including traditional tales at one time considered too dark, such as those collected and published by the Brothers Grimm. Bettelheim suggested that traditional fairy tales, with the darkness of abandonment, death, witches, and injuries, allowed children to grapple with their fears in remote, symbolic terms. If they could read and interpret these fairy tales in their own way, he believed, they would get a greater sense of meaning and purpose. Bettelheim thought that by engaging with these socially-evolved stories, children would go through emotional growth that would better prepare them for their own futures.
Point is, Bettelheim makes a case for the necessity of sharing dark stories such as "Red Riding Hood" with young children. How else will children develop and be able to confront the darkness within our world if they do not have the basic archetypes within their consciousness to grapple with it or to even acknowledge its existence?
For today, I think you know what's in store...We've seen Little Red, The Wolf, and Gramma so far. That leaves us with just the Woodsman.
I feel I must state that no real wolves (only a symbolic, archetypal wolf who really deserved it) were injured in the creation of today's post. The next few images are as graphic as it gets in the world of finger puppets. (You have been warned!)
And they all lived happily ever after...except, I suppose, the wolf.