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Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf

The Big Bad Wolf is a fictional wolf appearing in several cautionary tales, including some of Aesop's Fables and Grimms' Fairy Tales. Versions of this character have appeared in numerous works, and has become a generic archetype of a menacing predatory antagonist.

Folkloric AppearancesEdit

Aesop's FablesEdit

  • The Boy Who Cried Wolf
  • The Dog and the Wolf
  • The Priest and the Wolf
  • The Wolf and the Crane
  • The Wolf and the Lamb
  • The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Grimm's Fairy TalesEdit

English Fairy Tales by Joseph JacobsEdit

Compositions by Sergei Prokofiev Edit

  • Peter and the Wolf


Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids , the Russian tale Peter and the Wolf, reflect the theme of the ravening wolf and of the creature released unharmed from its belly, but the general theme of restoration is very old.

The dialog between the wolf and Little Red Riding Hood has its analogies to the Norse Þrymskviða from the Elder Edda; the giant Þrymr had stolen Mjölner, Thor's hammer, and demanded Freyja as his bride for its return. Instead, the gods dressed Thor as a bride and sent him. When the giants note Thor's unladylike eyes, eating, and drinking, Loki explains them as Freyja not having slept, or eaten, or drunk, out of longing for the wedding.

Folklorists and cultural anthropologists such as P. Saintyves and Edward Burnett Tylor saw Little Red Riding Hood in terms of solar myths and other naturally occurring cycles, stating that the wolf represents the night swallowing the sun, and the variations in which Little Red Riding Hood is cut out of the wolf's belly represent the dawn. In this interpretation, there is a connection between the wolf of this tale and Skoll or Fenrir, the wolf in Norse mythology that will swallow the sun at Ragnarök.

Ethologist Dr. Valerius Geist of the University of Calgary, Alberta wrote that the fable was likely based on genuine risk of wolf attacks at the time. He argues that wolves were in fact dangerous predators, and fables served as a valid warning not to enter forests where wolves were known to live, and to be on the look out for such. Both wolves and wilderness were treated as enemies of humanity in that region and time.

See AlsoEdit

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