Finally Met Some Fairy Tales I Do Not Like

124a9e7fae8beda3d0710f35c2b90abfFor Classic Fairy Tales, the Norton Critical Edition that I compiled some years ago, I included James Thurber’s “The Little Girl and the Wolf” in the unit on “Little Red Riding Hood.”  Last year, I was invited to entertain the sons and daughters of an administrative unit at Harvard on “Take Your Kids to Work Day.”  The plan was to act out different versions of “Little Red Riding Hood.”  I considered Thurber’s version and then stopped short at the part where the girl whips out a gun, realizing that the parents present would not be amused.  Times change, and what drew big laughs from the students in my classes 20 years ago no longer seemed so funny:

ONE AFTERNOON a big wolf waited in a dark forest for a little girl to come along carrying a basket of food to her grandmother. Finally a little girl did come along and she was carrying a basket of food. “Are you carrying that basket to your grandmother?” asked the wolf. The little girl said yes, she was. So the wolf asked her where her grandmother lived and the little girl told him and he disappeared into the wood.

When the little girl opened the door of her grandmother’s house she saw that there was somebody in bed with a nightcap and nightgown on. She had approached no nearer than twenty-five feet from the bed when she saw that it was not her grandmother but the wolf, for even in a nightcap a wolf does not look any more like your grandmother than the Metro-Goldwyn lion looks like Calvin Coolidge. So the little girl took an automatic out of her basket and shot the wolf dead.

Roald Dahl must have come across Thurber’s “The Little Girl and the Wolf” before he published Revolting Rhymes:

The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
She whips a pistol from her knickers.
She aims it at the creature’s head
And bang bang bang, she shoots him dead.
A few weeks later, in the wood,
I came across Miss Riding Hood.
But what a change! No cloak of red,
No silly hood upon her head.
She said, “Hello, and do please note
My lovely furry wolfskin coat.”

The NRA has not appropriated Thurber or Dahl but their new fairy tales take a perverse turn, with parents and children “enjoying” gun-friendly adaptations.  Below the link to the NRA stories, with the preface, followed by a link to an NPR article about the stories.

“Make it new”–that’s my mantra when it comes to fairy tales.  But just because it’s new doesn’t mean that, presto!, we suddenly got the story right.  All we have is one more version that gives us something to talk about.

Have you ever wondered what those same fairy tales might sound like if the hapless Red Riding Hoods, Hansels and Gretels had been taught about gun safety and how to use firearms? The author of this piece, Amelia Hamilton hasand NRA Family is proud to announce that we’ve partnered with the author to present her twist on those classic tales. We hope you and your children enjoy this first installment!…

Adding guns to the world of the Brothers Grimm drastically reduces death rates, according to a study — well, OK, according to a couple of stories published by the NRA.

So far, there are only two data points. And they’re imaginary. But the trendline is clear: In the NRA’s reimagined fairy tales, putting rifles in the hands of children creates a safer world.

The NRA Family site published its first reimagined fairy tale — “Little Red Riding Hood (Has A Gun)” in January, and followed up with “Hansel and Gretel (Have Guns)” last week.

On Twitter, inspired by the series, a few people have been inventing their own #NRAfairytales, imagining tales that begin with “once upon a time” and end with a bang.

“Prince traveling kingdom 2 find owner of glass slipper shot dead by gun wielding evil stepmother,” @SarahFMcD wrote.

“The porridge was too cold, the bed was too hard, but this AK47 is just right,”@Scott_Craven2 offered. “Who’s up for some bearskln rugs?”

But the NRA’s own stories — written by Amelia Hamilton — are noteworthy for their nearly complete lack of violence.

Fairy tales, of course, were notoriously gory and grim in their original incarnations. But the NRA’s versions take place in a utopia filled with empowered and unharmed children.

2 thoughts on “Finally Met Some Fairy Tales I Do Not Like

  1. Thanks for your insights and stand on the NRA’s insidious campaign to advance their agenda by corrupting fairy tales.
    Dan Brady, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, responded:…”Nearly 50 children and teenagers are shot each day in the United States, and suicide by gun is a leading cause of death among children over the age of 9…” – Robert

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