Red Riding Hood is one of the most well-known fairytales ever told.
It tells the story of a young girl who walks through a forest on the way to visiting her sick grandmother.
She is compromised on the way by a wolf who tricks her into telling him the location of the grandmothers cottage who goes to the cottage before her, hides the grandmother and sets out luring the nieve, unsuspecting girl into a trap when she arrives.
There have been many variations and adaptations to the story over the centuries which have become greatly sanitized for story-telling to children .
The real story of what happened to Red Riding Hood is surely a lot more disturbing and sinister.
The clear moral message of the story is, of course, that children should never talk to strangers.
This assumes that the young girl was quite young and that the wolf was unknown to her.
The wolf is probably an anthropomorphic reference to a human predator preying on a pretty young girl who was perhaps known to him and who was barely past puberty and who was taken advantage of sexually in a remote, secluded country cottage.
It seems inconceivable that Red Riding Hood would not have recognized the person in the bed as not being her grandmother or indeed that she would have had to do no more than politely knock the front door before entering the cottage.
This was not her first visit to the cottage and regardless of whether her grandmother was sick or not, her visits to the cottage were regular and routinely made.
It would also have been her habit to pick flowers from the forest to give to her grandmother when she arrived and would have needed no prompting from the wolf predator to do that.
Once inside the cottage, Red Riding Hood, alerted to potential danger, confused and afraid, may have conceded to her predator or sought to protect her virtue in a clumsy, vicious instinctive struggle.
Whether or not using potions from the forest to drug Red Riding Hood, you would expect the predator to have overpowered her.
It was fortunate that a local woodcutter was passing by that morning and heard the screams of the young girl coming out from the cottage.
The woodcutter becomes the hero of the story by slaying the wolf, releasing the grandmother from her captivity and saving Red Riding Hood from further humiliation.
We can confidently comprehend that the young girl in the real story was neither wearing red clothing nor riding a horse.
On a misty, cool morning walking through the forest, she may have been hooded.
The identification of a ‘red riding hood’ is to represent the spilling of the blood of the predator, not her own and that she came out of the drama unscathed, still virtuous, riding her good luck to tell her tale for fairytale and folklore.
Every young girl knows, not only to avoid speaking to people she does not know but to be beware of the big bad wolf who lurks in the undergrowth of the forest.
That, I believe, is a more realistic explanation of the story of Red Riding Hood.