When you sit down and really think about the message behind Little Red Riding Hood story, you begin to see the many layers of messages it contains. Not wishing to teach my grandmother to suck eggs here, so to speak, but fairy tales have always been used to pass on messages. Warnings. Advice. Over time, we lose the context. The subtle references are dropped. Heck, I can see how they have been politically corrected in my life time. Going further back, I have a 1930s version of this tale that gives a far more brutal and, possibly, more realistic ending.
When my children studied the modern version at school, in reception class, it was all about stranger danger (and story development). I know because it upset my eldest. Her favourite animal was a wolf at the time. For years afterwards, she’d seek out versions that made the wolf a more favourable character. Her reaction to the caped girl was interesting too, but not for now.
I promise. I’m not going to start dissecting the tale here, but I do want to talk a smidgeon about one element of the story that I think asserts itself and then goes under the radar. Putting the wolf to one side, the story also has another obvious, interesting element to it. The path. Don’t stray from it and all will be well. You can read so much into this assertion. Good advice if going through a boggy area or you just don’t want to get lost. What I do find interesting is that this tale is telling us, from a young age, that we need to obey and stick to the well trodden route. Stick to the norm. Don’t contemplate the alternative, plus no advice if you find yourself, or others, off the path.
What a message! Or lack of message. I have so many questions about this, but I’m going to kick my soap box to one side and talk about paths in general, this week.
It has been a hectic work week for me. The house is not clean (please, no-one visit), and I really ought to be doing that rather than writing. I’ve dropped too many balls, as I’ve scurried around to hit unmoveable deadlines, this week. There are times when you step on a path, you can’t step off until the end. I’m glad to sign this week off. Excuse my stinky mood.
There have been other things going on which are much lighter on my mood.
My husband ran his first 10k trail race. I am so proud of him. He’s done 10k races before but this one was different. There was a section of many metres running through a river, which came up to his thighs. I did wonder why it took him longer to cross the finishing line. The printed map really did not convey the difficulty of the path to me. Eldest came along with me to support him. We ate chocolate cake in the car and put the world to rights, while her father ran up hills, through rivers and across fields of farm animals (they should be OK, they said).
I did get him a slice of chocolate cake when he finished.
When we got home, I found our lovely neighbour replacing the glass in my greenhouse. The greenhouse is my domain, but I’ve been in a bit of a funk about it. Panes were missing or cracked. I wasn’t gearing up much to use it. Little known to me, it had become a topic of conversation over the garden fence, between my husband and our lovely neighbour. He had lots of spare glass. He cut it to the right size and was fitting it when we got home. (No, you cannot send the house details of your next door house to him. I’ve sealed up his letter box – not really, but still, no.)
So, this weekend, I’m going to improve the soil and clean the glass. I have young plants ready to plant. My husband even walked me round the garden this week, to discuss where we could put another greenhouse. He has put me back on my path again and given me a gentle push. He knows me well. I do love my greenhouse and growing food in there.
Little dance of joy!
(photo from previous year)
We’ve been on our annual bluebell walk. It starts just behind our garden and makes a lovely walk, with bluebells on either side of the path. If you need a reason to stick to the path, I think the bluebells provide a good argument for it.
Finally knitting. I was umm-ing and ahh-ing about restarting my latest knit, but after some experimenting I’m going to go with the flow and stick to the path. More lacey than I was expecting, but I can live with that. The more I think about it, the more I think the instructions are wrong.
Right enough of my waffling. I’m off to reintroduce the vacuum to my house and spread a little bit of vinegar and rosemary cleaning mix to the surfaces. A bank holiday weekend to look forward to. Hope you all have wonderful plans, wherever the path takes you or not.
Joining in with Anne’s word of the week linky. I’m summing my week up with the word “path”. What’s your word?