We all know the modern rendition of Little Red, don’t we? Red takes a basket of goodies to her grandmother’s house to find the Big Bad Wolf in the old woman’s place. A huntsman shows up and kills the wolf and Bob’s your uncle. The end.
The original take on this wonderful tale is far better in my opinion, not because it has carnage and mayhem, but because there is actually a moral in it. The mayhem and carnage is just a bonus.
In the original version, the wolf gives Little Red bad directions when she asks how to get to her grandmother’s house. Like the fool that she is–obviously, I mean she doesn’t even know the way to her own grandmother’s house–she follows the directions given to her by the wolf. Surprise! She doesn’t end up where she thought she would. There is no quaint little cottage at the end of those directions the wolf so expertly wove. Instead, she ends up getting herself eaten by a hungry woodland creature. There is no grandmother. There is no woodsman. There is only the sweet release of an agonizing death. All claws and teeth and blood and nasty bits. Good for the wolf, not so much for Red.
The moral of which I spoke: don’t take advice from strangers. If there is a moral in the new fangled version I have yet to find it.
Until next time, minions.
Fairy tales and nursery rhymes may sound sweet and innocent at first glance, but a lot of them carry darker undertones. I’ve decided to pick a different one each month and give you the truly screwed up meaning behind it.
On the docket for this first edition we’re going to delve into the true story behind the tale of Jack and Jill.
The rhyme goes like this:
Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.
This fun, little rhyme is about two kids falling down a hill while trying to get water, right? Wrong! There is actually more to this seemingly innocuous tale than that.
The “Jack” of the story refers to King Louis XVI. He was beheaded, by means of guillotine, on January 21, 1793. This came after he was arrested during the French Revolution for high treason and found guilty by almost all and innocent by none. Even though most found him guilty, only a slight majority condemned him to execution. He is officially the first victim of that dark time in French history known as the Reign of Terror.
The “Jill” in the tale is Queen Marie Antoinette, King Louis XVI’s wife. She was beheaded on October 16th of that same year.
Essentially meaning Louis XVI lost (broke) his crown first, and Marie followed suit. Good luck getting the image of their heads tumbling down the hill out of your thoughts every time you hear that peculiar little rhyme.