Little Red Riding Hood

Fairy tales are… horrifying.  About five years ago, my Mom sent me a print of little red riding hood facing off with the big bad wolf.

In the print, little red is about ten years old.  She has on a dark red peacoat and a dark red knit cap with a little white pom pom on it.  She has dark hair.  She is wearing ankle high hiking boots with red socks.  She is wearing an expression on her face, not of anger, not of fear and not of defiance but merely of acceptance as she looks over her shoulder at the wolf.  She is holding an AK47.  

When I opened the print I laughed out loud.  Hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.  Don’t be mad if the wolf threatens you, that’s what wolves do.  Just be prepared.

When I called Mom to thank her she said,  “Well, it is your color, that red.”

I ordered a t-shirt with the print on it and gave it to a friend of mine who was working at Homeland Security at the time.  She loved it, of course.

I showed the print to an engineer I was working with.  He is a right wing and he lives in North Carolina and in spite of our differences we had always worked very, very well together.

When he saw the print he said,  “Martha that is so you and did you notice she has a secondary?”


“A secondary in her basket.  She has a Glock in her basket.”

“Oh my GOD I missed that! Thanks Chris for pointing that out.”

“Well, thank you for sharing the picture with me Martha, it made my day.  Really, always a pleasure.”

“You as well Chris, you as well.”

This year, I couldn’t believe that Mom actually sent up a Christmas box.  There’s an awful lot of crap in the box, always, and a few Christmas decorations. The usual assortment of paperbacks that she’s already read, my favorite, and this year there was an extension on the little red riding hood theme.  One was a pen and ink print of a baby red riding hood sleeping safely in the tail of the wolf as the wolf howls at the moon.  The red cap is the only thing in the print with color.  There was a pair of fun red riding hood socks as well.  The capper was a refrigerator magnet that had little red riding hood and the wolf enjoying a picnic tea on a blanket.  There is a rose in a bud vase and they are drinking tea from a cup and saucer.  Red riding hood has a little bottle of poison off to the side, out of sight of the wolf, just in case…

I know that there have been theses written on the symbolism of Little Red Riding Hood.  The loss of innocence, the dangers that young girls face.  I delight in the depiction of little red taking her power.  The AK47 and the Glock, the little bottle of poison.  But I still miss, in my heart, that the loss of innocence has to come so early for so many.  

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