In one of the most famous fairy tales ever told, Little Red Riding Hood is a little girl in a red cloak who visits her grandma in the woods only to discover a big bad wolf has eaten grandma and wants to eat Little Red too.
When I was a kid, the version told to me was that Little Red tricks the wolf to fall asleep and cuts open the wolf’s belly to find grandma save and sound. She then rescues grandma and fills the belly with heavy rocks. When the wolf finally awakes, the rocks are so heavy that they weigh him down and the wolf dies. Grandma and Little Red then lives happily ever after.
Different versions of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale
Through the years, this fairy tale has evolved and the story line has been changed into modern interpretations and readings. Here are a few famous versions:
1. Happy ending – both grandma and Little Red are well.
In this version, grandma and Little Red escapes from the wolf and are safe and one in which good triumphs over evil.
2. Sad ending – both grandma and Little Red were eaten by the wolf.
This may well be the original version but how can you tell a child a bedtime story with a violent and terrible end?
3. The huntsman – a saviour that rescues Little Red and grandma.
In this version, a huntsman appears and save Little Red and grandma by slaying the wolf. This version may draw on the notion of hope and faith that although we may go through difficult times in our lives, things will change for the better.
4. Straying from the path – temptation, independence.
This version tells of Little Red being tempted by the wolf and stray from the good moral values. Some believe this is Little Red’s inner voice to seek independence and freedom to make her own life choices.
5. The rocks – intelligence and resourcefulness.
This version paints Little Red to be resourceful and intelligent where the rocks may signify the weight of her resourcefulness to defeat the wolf and safe her grandma.
6. Sin and the colour red – good versus evil morals.
Red is traditionally the colour of lust and sin. It may also signify blood, passion and sexuality. Some versions tell of Little Red being full of lust, tempting the wolf and confusing him with sexual innuendos. Another version tells of Little Red stripping her clothes and offering the wolf one article of clothing after another in an attempt to lure the wolf and free herself. Her plan backfires and the wolf eats her alive, leaving nothing else except her arms. The moral behind this story is that it is wrong to prostitute oneself and one will eventually pay for one’s sins.
Rachmaninoff Etudes – Tableaux Opus 39
The etudes-tableaux or “study pictures” are two sets of piano etudes composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff and arranged under opus numbers 33 and 39. These “picture pieces” were intended to evoke vivid images within the listener’s mind.
One of my favourites is the Etude Opus 39 no. 6 otherwise known as the “Little Red Riding Hood” etude.
It begins with threatening octaves leading to a scuttling rhythm which depicts Little Red hurrying through the woods, trying to run away from the big wolf. Composed in the key of A minor the rhythm progresses to a chaotic state to depict the sheer terror and fear in Little Red. Clever syncopated rhythms give the impression of weaving and dodging through trees in the forest.
Two of my favourite interpretations of this piece is by Valentina Lisitsa and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Close your eyes and listen to this piece of music.
What goes through your mind when you listen to this piece of dark haunting music with your eyes closed?
Important listening tips and guidance !
1. Close your eyes
2. Be in a relaxed and comfortable position and state of mind
3. Be in a relatively dark room
4. Use a good set of headphones if possible (These recordings have very good audio quality)
I suspect the images you visualise and the answers are closely related to your personality, life experiences and your own personal concept about good and evil. It gives an insight into who you really are.
So dear reader, who are you?
I have included the score for this etude here.
Download music score for Rachmaninoff – 9 Preludes Opus 39