Sunday, March 18, 2007

Little Red Riding Hood, kite, soap likenesses

Between times I am reading fairy stories as told by Charles Perrault. I had forgotten that Little Red Riding Hood had come to a sticky end. Perhaps the story they told me was bowdlerised. But I recall her as a streetwise child, who made her escape, when the wolf, with the intention of making a meal of her, invited her to join him in her grandmother's bed. I may have passed this weak ending on to my own children. I hope not. Perrault's story ends this way:
"Grandmother, what big eyes you have!"
"All the better to see you with, my child"
"Grandmother, what big teeth you have!"
"They are to eat you with!"
And with these words, the wicked wolf threw himself on Little Red Riding Hood and ate her."
No nonsense there.
But I do have a soft spot for James Thurber's version of the story. It ends: "So the little girl took an automatic out of her basket and shot the wolf dead", to which he adds the moral: It's not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be".

A father with two small children, a kite and a camera, attempts to fly the kite, keep the children happy and take photographs of happy children flying a kite. I'm not sure that he succeeds but I enjoy the way he persists.

I have a weakness for soap operas, and an ailment which arises from it. I keep seeing people who remind me of characters from East Enders. They are not necessarily of the same age or sex as the characters; it may be a way of walking, a hair-do, or a set of features, which puts me in mind of the soap. Today I see a baby in a pram, who is the image of Tracey Slater, a bright but troubled teen-ager, with a sharp tongue. She has a disdainful expression most of the time with her mouth turned down and her lower lip scornfully curled. This baby is probably six months old, and as I look at it, it stares back with that knowing, penetrating look that babies have, bold and full of knowledge and intelligence. It looks at me, this child, full of scorn, its features frozen in contempt.

3 comments:

French Fancy said...

I like the way you mix the topics on your posts.

tristan said...

did you ever read the marina warner book about fairy tales ... i think it might have been titled from the blonde to the beast

Plutarch said...

I think I did read it a long time ago. I also think that I must be in my second childhood, because I like fairy stories even more than in my first childhood.