Little Red Riding Hood: History & Summary Video

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  • 0:03 Background
  • 0:40 History
  • 2:01 Summary
  • 3:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Summer Stewart

Summer has taught creative writing and sciences at the college level. She holds an MFA in Creative writing and a B.A.S. in English and Nutrition

The favorite bedtime story ''Little Red Riding Hood'' has a rich history dating back to the first century. In this lesson, we'll look at the history and go over a brief summary of the story.


How on Earth could a hunter (or a woodcutter) cut open the Big Bad Wolf to rescue a little girl and her grandmother after being eaten? In the first published version of the story, he doesn't. It wasn't until the Grimm Brothers rewrote the story that a man rescued the grandmother and young girl. As you can see, the story of ''Little Red Riding Hood'' boasts a rich past that dates back to the first century. Fifty-eight versions of the story exist from all around the world! In this lesson, we will learn about the history of ''Little Red Riding Hood'' and go over the main plot of the story.


The Origin of ''Little Red Riding Hood''

For years, some anthropologists believed that ''Little Red Riding Hood'' came to Europe from China because of an old Chinese version; however, it was determined by anthropologist Jamshid J. Tehrani that the story originated from the story ''The Wolf and the Kids'', a story that has been told in Europe for over 1,000 years (with an unconfirmed origin). This story is likely to have inspired the story ''Little Red Riding Hood'' and its many variations. Tehrani pointed out that it is far more likely that the European story traveled to China, inspiring the Chinese story ''Tiger Grandma.''

The First Publication of ''Little Red Riding Hood''

Long before its first publication, ''Little Red Riding Hood'' was told in France during the tenth century, and yet the first print version didn't show up until 1697. Charles Perrault included the story in a collection of moral stories - but it doesn't end happily. The grandmother and the young girl are eaten, and there isn't a huntsman to save them. The moral of the story is not to listen to strangers and to do as you are told.

The Grimm Brothers' Adaptation of ''Little Red Riding Hood''

German authors Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm adapted the story during the nineteenth century and published it in one of their first fairy tale collections in 1812. The story follows the same story line as Charles Perrault's version, except for the ending. The Grimm brothers end the story with Little Red Riding Good and her grandmother being cut from the wolf's belly by the heroic huntsman.


Since so many versions of the story exist, this summary tells of the version in which Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother survive.

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