Friday, October 1, 2010

Little Red Hat in the Elementary Classroom...Don't Do It!

From Gory version of fairy tale read to elementary school students by Lindsey Connell:
News Leader 9 (in Georgia) has received a copy of an old world version of "Little Red Riding Hood" from outraged parents who say their 8-year-old child has been having nightmares ever since the gory story was read to their third grade class at New Mountain Hill Elementary School in Fortson.

The story, called "Little Red Hat," was read to 3rd and 4th graders this week by a visiting teacher from the gifted program in an effort to engage higher level thinking.

It's about an ogre who makes a little girl eat her dead grandmother's teeth and jaws and drink her blood before he kills the child.

"The content, the verbiage in that- it's a fairly old version- was inappropriate. She did not read the story, she told the story and in fact, modified portions of it to prevent what she had thought would be inappropriate stuff from going to the children but some of it scared a couple of the children," explained Dr. Craig Dowling, Superintendent of the Harris County School District.

And here's the text of the tale that was shared (provided with the article):

Little Red Hat


Once there was an old woman who had a granddaughter named Little Red Hat. One day they were both in the field when the old woman said, "I am going home now. You come along later and bring me some soup."

After a while Little Red Hat set out for her grandmother's house, and she met an ogre, who said, "Hello, my dear Little Red Hat. Where are you going?"

"I am going to my grandmother's to take her some soup."

"Good," he replied, "I'll come along too. Are you going across the stones or the thorns?"

"I'm going across the stones," said the girl.

"Then I'll go across the thorns," replied the ogre.

They left. But on the way Little Red Hat came to a meadow where beautiful flowers of all colors were in bloom, and the girl picked as many as her heart desired. Meanwhile the ogre hurried on his way, and although he had to cross the thorns, he arrived at the house before Little Red Hat. He went inside, killed the grandmother, ate her up, and climbed into her bed. He also tied her intestine onto the door in place of the latch string and placed her blood, teeth, and jaws in the kitchen cupboard.

He had barely climbed into bed when Little Red Hat arrived and knocked at the door.

"Come in" called the ogre with a dampened voice.

Little Red Hat tried to open the door, but when she noticed that she was pulling on something soft, she called out, "Grandmother, this thing is so soft!"

"Just pull and keep quiet. It is your grandmother's intestine!"

"What did you say?"

"Just pull and keep quiet!"

Little Red Hat opened the door, went inside, and said, "Grandmother, I am hungry."

The ogre replied, "Go to the kitchen cupboard. There is still a little rice there."

Little Red Hat went to the cupboard and took the teeth out. "Grandmother, these things are very hard!"

"Eat and keep quiet. They are your grandmother's teeth!"

"What did you say?"

"Eat and keep quiet!"

A little while later Little Red Hat said, "Grandmother, I'm still hungry."

"Go back to the cupboard," said the ogre. "You will find two pieces of chopped meat there."

Little Red Hat went to the cupboard and took out the jaws. "Grandmother, this is very red!"

"Eat and keep quiet. They are your grandmother's jaws!"

"What did you say?"

"Eat and keep quiet!"

A little while later Little Red Hat said, "Grandmother, I'm thirsty."

"Just look in the cupboard," said the ogre. "There must be a little wine there."

Little Red Hat went to the cupboard and took out the blood. "Grandmother, this wine is very red!"

"Drink and keep quiet. It is your grandmother's blood!

"What did you say?"

"Just drink and keep quiet!"

A little while later Little Red Hat said, "Grandmother, I'm sleepy."

"Take off your clothes and get into bed with me!" replied the ogre.

Little Red Hat got into bed and noticed something hairy. "Grandmother, you are so hairy!"

"That comes with age," said the ogre.

"Grandmother, you have such long legs!"

"That comes from walking."

"Grandmother, you have such long hands!"

"That comes from working."

"Grandmother, you have such long ears!"

"That comes from listening."

"Grandmother, you have such a big mouth!"

"That comes from eating children!" said the ogre, and bam, he swallowed Little Red Hat with one gulp.

Which appears to have been lifted fully from D. L. Ashliman's translation of the tale on his website without any credit to him. Very common with his site and mine in my experience...

I admire the teacher's idea--this is no judgment on her--but be careful as elementary school teachers about which fairy tales are appropriate for the classroom. Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood are both regularly challenged by parents for much more minor offenses than what appears in these more unadulterated versions. There is age appropriateness to consider especially in a room of 20+ kids. Especially in the South.  I'm Southern.  I can say that.  And this one has the wine that has gotten LRRH challenged before, too

And people think I play with pixie dust and fairy wands all day when I say I study fairy tales. Ha!

1 comment:

  1. Wow...I love those gory tales as much as the next person, but really? She should have known better than that!