Red Riding Hood is a classic tale, remembered and shared in oral tradition for generations and finally written down by The Grimm's Brothers, Charles Perrault and more. There are several variations of Red Riding Hood and aspects of this story also feature in other fairy tales. At its most basic interpretation; it provides "stranger danger" advice for children.
However, there are many lessons in this tale and they can be as deep or as superficial as you care to interpret. Most obvious are "don't talk to strangers" (withhold personal information), "Mother knows best" (listen to the voice of experience) and "don't stray into the woods" (don't get out of your depth). But another that seems very applicable today, as we are more reliant on technology and are divorced further from nature; is to remember to trust your own natural instincts and specifically: 1) to be observant, and 2) to trust what your eyes and ears are telling you - not what someone else insists you must see and hear.
"... Little Red Riding-Hood ... knocked at the door (and) ... hearing the big voice of the Wolf, was at first afraid; but believing her grandmother had got a cold, and was hoarse ... "
Quote from The Young Folks' Shelf of Books, 1948
Now Red Riding Hood knew something was up. That front door shouldn't have been open, Grandmother shouldn't have been hiding herself under the bedclothes and Red Riding Hood shouldn't have felt scared or uncomfortable for no reason. But in her innocence, she chose to ignore this and instead questioned the wolf about his odd appearance: why his eyes, ears and hands were not the same size as Grandmother's eyes, ears and hands; to which the wolf cunningly supplies sweet "love-bombing" answers that his features make it "the better to see, hear and hug you with my dear". By the time poor Red Riding Hood notices his enormous teeth (for which the wolf really has no answer because Grandmother certainly doesn't have those); it is too late and she is gobbled up.
*Of particular note, is that the wolf did not even attempt to fool Grandmother. Upon gaining entry to the inside the house where Grandmother could see him; the wolf immediately ate her up. The wolf knew that as soon as the old woman saw him; SHE would believe her eyes and ears and wouldn't let him fool her into thinking that he was anything but a wolf!
So take a lesson from the age-old storytellers of the sad tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Do not ignore your powers of observation and do not accept every explanation handed to you in an attempt to "Be Kind" -- you might just be talking to a wolf!!
Bibliography: The Young Folks' Shelf of Books, The Junior Classics 1 Fairy Tales and Fables, P.F. Collier and Son Corporation, USA, 1948; Grimm's Fairy Tales to Read Aloud, Compiled by Oscar Weigle, Wonder Books, Inc., USA, Canada, 1963; Grimm's Fairy Tales, Companion Library, Grosset & Dunlop, USA, 1963; Grimm's Fairy Tales, The Folio Society, Great Britain, 2003; Charles Perrault Best Known Fairy Stories, Dean & Sons, Ltd., Hamlyn Publishing Group, Ltd., Great Britain, 1983; Red Riding Hood, James Marshall, Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin, Scholastic Inc., 1991.
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