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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Fairy tales? Try scary tales!



It's one of the better unkept secrets. A lot of popular fairy tales, nursery rhymes and even some prayers are scary, even morbid. mom_red.jpg

Some seem harmless enough. Like Jack who fell down and broke his crown.

Others are downright awful. Like Hansel and Gretel, who end up in the hands of a witch who wants to bake them in the oven and eat them.

I thought Little Red Riding Hood was somewhere in the middle until my 3-year-old daughter pulled if off our shelf recently. I hadn't read it in, honestly, 30 years and thought, "How bad could it be?''



In the first few pages, the wolf looked about as menacing as Swiper. That was until he gobbled up Granny in one big bite, then Red Riding Hood in another.

Fair enough, I knew all that was coming. What I didn't expect came next. The huntsman arrived and, upon seeing the wolf's bulging belly, cut open the wolf and out popped Granny and Red. Then the huntsman filled up the wolf's stomach with stones and stitched him back up. The weight of the stones killed him.

Hardly calming before bedtime, right? Just about the time when the wolf attacked Granny, I started flipping through the pages and making up my own version of "and they all lived happily ever after.'' The whole medieval C-section thing was too much to take -- or explain.

Apparently, the original story has the wolf waking up with the stones in his gut, walking to a well for water and falling in to his death. More
sanitized versions -- and appropriate ones in my mind -- have the wolf locking granny in a closet and the huntsman saving Little Red Riding Hood before the wolf gets her.

I decided that day to pre-read my daughter's "fairy tales'' just to make sure they pass the good-for-bedtime test. Sure, the princess doesn't always get her prince. But no one, even meanies, should die with a tummy full of stones.

~ Susan Thurston, Times mom

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[Last modified: Saturday, October 9, 2010 12:41pm]


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