What big eyes you have

Today 3 July it’s time for Fairy Tales and I am going straight to one of the biggies… Little Red Riding Hood. July 3 is also the birthday of one Tom Cruise but I did a Tom Cruise wrap last year and I decided to wrap a different wolf in sheep’s clothing this time round.

I have always quite liked Little Red Riding Hood as a Fairy Tale though I can’t quite explain why. It’s quite frightening when you think about it.

Little Red goes through the woods to visit her Grandma but against her mother’s  clear instructions comes across a wolf and a shares with him her intention to visit her Grandma. The wolf runs straight to Grandma’s house and devours said Grandma. The wolf then dresses as Grandma and sits in wait for Little Red Riding Hood.  But Red Riding Hood is no fool … She notices what a big nose, what big eyes, what big ears and what big teeth Grandma has. She shouts for help and a passing woodcutter comes to her aid. Talk about good luck. Grandma then jumps out of the wolf’s stomach. That’s the last we hear of the wolf and the first time we get to marvel at Grabdma’s resilience.

And the moral of the story? Well some say it is that children shouldn’t talk to strangers but I don’t know. My mum says the moral is listen to your mum. Is that too simplistic? What does it all mean?

The answer is lots. Some say that the Little Red Riding Hood folk tale reveals the history of human migration no less. Experts at Durham University used mathematical modelling to plot the evolutionary journey of a spoken folk tale called The Wolf and the Kids, a tale still told in some countries. Their research found the British favourite Little Red Riding Hood whose wolf character also devours a young girl, branched off around 1000 years along the evolutionary tree.

Dr Jamshid Tehrani used a technique called phylogenetics to compare 72 areas of similarity between 58 variations of the folk tale. His findings were published in the Public Library of Science Journal and it makes a fine if slightly dense read on how humans and their tales evolved.

His work appears to overturn the theory that a forerunner of Little Red Riding Hood originally came from China. It also puts paid to the suggestion that the tale was the original creation of Frenchman Charles Perrault, though there is strong suggestion he was the first to write it down in the 1600’s. As for the Brothers Grimm , well yes they retold it in its most modern form around 200 years ago, but on reflection probably get a tad more credit than they should.

My LRRH wrap features a faux bois paper and a big bold Red Riding Hood Ribbon. I do like the term faux bois aka false wood and I know Martha Stewart does too. That’s good enough for me. It refers to the artistic imitation of wood or wood grains and has its roots in the Renaissance with Trompe l’oeil imagery (note to self…need  a Trompe l’oeil wrap v soon) . The wood grain references the woods in the fairy tale and the bow references LRRH herself. My what a big evolutionary bow you have.


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