Little Red Riding Hood

red riding hoodWe don’t normally simplify popular children’s stories. An important part of is reading for overall meaning, even if you don’t know all the words. With well-known stories, this may not take place. We are making an exception with this story from the “father” of modern children’s stories Charles Perrault, to show how such stories can change over time. Both the action in the grandmother’s bedroom and the ending were changed by the famous Brothers Grimm to create a more socially acceptable story for children.

English Learner Vocabulary Help

The words and expressions in our Simplified English story which are not in our Elementary Level 800 word list are: , , , , , , , and .

General Comments on the Story

Many people know of the Brothers Grimm (1785–1863) and the famous Danish writer of children’s stories, Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875). Few people know of the Frenchman Charles Perrault, who published a book in 1694 that is still loved around the world today: s of Mother Goose. (Yes… Mother Goose was a man!) In 1697, a new of Mother Goose was published containing the children’s stories Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, Sleeping Beauty, and Tom Thumb. Perrault’s approach was to create stories by re-writing traditional s. This is why Little Red Riding Hood features in the Folktale section of our website rather than in our Children’s Stories. This approach was also used as a writing model by the Brothers Grimm, who included their own s of some of Perrault’s stories in their books. We have included the Brothers Grimm version of this story (called “Little Red Cap”) for interest.

Although we have Perrault to thank for the first written version of Little Red Riding Hood, we know that the folktale came from long before he was born. The following is a simplified version of an Fairytales Have Ancient Origin by Science writer Richard Gray which appeared in the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph newspaper on September 5, 2009.

Dr Jamie Tehrani from Durham University studied 35 versions of Little Red Riding Hood from around the world.

Whilst the European version tells the story of a little girl who is tricked by a wolf pretending to be her grandmother, in the Chinese version a tiger replaces the wolf.

In Iran, where it would be considered odd for a young girl to walk about alone, the story features a little boy.

Dr Tehrani found that all the stories shared a common dating back more than 2,600 years.

He said: “Over time these folktales have d just like natural s. Because many of them were not written down until much later, parts may have been forgotten and reed through hundreds of s.

“By looking at how these folktales have spread and changed it tells us something about human and what sort of things we tend to remember.

Dr Tehrani identified 70 variables in and characters between different versions of Little Red Riding Hood.

He found that the stories could be grouped into clearly identifiable families according to how they evolved over time.

The original ancestor is thought to be similar to another tale in which a wolf pretends to be a mother to get entry to a house full of young goats.

Stories in Africa are closely related to this original tale, whilst stories from Japan, Korea, China and Burma form a sister group. Tales told in Iran and Nigeria were the closest relations of the modern European version.

Dr Tehrani said: “We don’t know very much about how these stories moved from culture to culture, but it is possible that they may have been passed along trade s or with the movement of people.”

blue fairy bookOur source for Little Red Riding Hood was The Blue Fairy Book, one of a series of twelve collections of folk and fairy tales for children edited by Andrew Lang. This is the first book in the series, and was first published in 1889. The book contains translations of seven Perrault stories. It can be downloaded as an e-book from Project Gutenberg here. An audiobook is available from Librivox here.

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Extensive reading is exactly the same kind of reading that a learner would normally do for enjoyment in their own language – but in English and at a level where he/she can easily understand what they read. It requires reading long conversations and passages in English without using a dictionary. Much as in real life, being able to understand the overall meaning of what you read is more important than understanding every word.

arrive(v: arrive, arrives, arrived, arriving) To come to or reach a place after traveling, being sent, etc. 2000

butter(n: butter, noncount) A soft, yellow substance made from milk or cream that is spread on food or used in cooking. 2000

butterfly(n: butterfly pl butterflies) An insect that has a long thin body and brightly colored wings and flies mostly during the day. 4000

hood(n: hood pl hoods) A usually loose covering for the whole head, often attached to a coat, cloak etc. 3000

knock(v: knock, knocks, knocked, knocking) To make a loud, sharp noise by hitting or tapping something [especially a door to get someone to open it]. 1000

lock(n: lock pl locks) 1. A device that keeps something [such as a door, window, or box] from being opened and that is usually opened by using a key. 2. A length or curl of hair; a tress. She cut off a lock of his hair.
(v: lock, locks, locked, locking) To fasten something with a lock or in some other way so that it cannot be opened. 1000

path(n: path pl paths) A way made across the ground for or by the passing of people or animals. 2000

wolf(n: wolf pl wolves) A wild animal of the dog family, usually found hunting in groups called packs. (สุนัขป่า) 3000

tale(n: tale pl tales) 1. A story about real or imaginary events; an exciting or dramatic story that may not be completely true. (นิทาน) 2. An untrue story that is told to deceive someone; a lie. He told me he had a lot of money, but that was just a tale. (เรื่องโกหก) 3000

edition(n: edition pl editions) A particular version of a book; all the copies of a book that are printed or published at one time. 2000

(adj: classic) Used to describe something that has been popular for a long time and has come to be thought of as one of the best of its kind. 3000

folktale(n: folktale pl folktales) A story that is part of the traditions of a group of people and was handed down in spoken form before books and printing. 9000

version(n: version pl versions) 1. A story or description that is different in some way from another person's story or description. The boy gave his version of what had happened. (เรื่องราว) 2. A form of something (such as a product) that is different in some way from other forms. A new version of the software should be available soon. (รุ่น) 2000

article(n: article pl articles) A piece of writing about something in a newspaper, magazine, on the Internet, etc. 2000

(n: ancestor pl ancestors) 1. A person who was a member of one's family a long time ago and from whom one is descended. 2. Something in the past from which something else has developed. 6000

(v: evolve, evolves, evolved, evolving) To change or develop slowly often into a better, more complex, or more advanced state; to develop by a process of evolution. Some people believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs. 2000

(n: organism pl organisms) An individual living thing. Some organisms are microscopic. A human being is a complex organism. 8000

invent(v: invent, invents, invented, inventing) 1. To create or produce (something) for the first time. Thomas Edison invented the phonograph. 2. To create or make up (something, such as a story) in order to trick people. 3000

generation(n: generation pl generations) 1. All the people of approximately the same age or living at the same time. We need to take better care of the environment for future generations. 2. All of the people that are at the same stage of descent from a common ancestor. Mother and daughters represent two generations. 3. The average length of time between the birth of parents and the birth of their children, generally accepted as around 25-30 years. 2000

(n: psychology, noncount) The science or study of the mind and behavior. She studied psychology in college.
(n: psychologist pl psychologists) A scientist who studies psychology or treats problems to do with the mind and behavior.
(adj: psychological) Of or relating to the mind or the study of psychology. 2000

(n: plot pl plots) The series of events that form the story in a movie, novel, play, etc. 3000

goat(n: goat pl goats) A small animal of the sheep family, with horns and a long-haired coat. 5000

(n: route pl routes) 1. A way to get from one place to another place. We didn't know what route to take/follow. 2. A way that someone or something regularly travels along. A bus/truck/trade route. 2000

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