'What big eyes you have, Grandmother!'
Little Red Riding Hood is a story so simple, and at the same time so deeply serious, that if you looked I suspect you'd find its roots running deep through the heart of almost everything.
The story's been around since the 1300s, at least, and there are similar stories in the group of Viking myths called the Elder Edda, which were made up between 800 and 1100 AD.
In the story of Little Red Riding Hood an innocent girl meets a big bad wolf, and is either rescued in the nick of time, or cunningly manages to save herself, or gets chomped up.
The thing that's always puzzled me about this story is, where's the horse? I mean, why on earth would anyone have a riding hood if they didn't have something to ride?
If only the silly girl had taken her horse...
For me the very best thing about this story is that the heroine manages to wear a nice red hood without being a baddy. So often the slightest sign of a girl's taking pleasure in her appearance heralds a long and horrible descent into something very nasty indeed.
'Oh Grandmother, what big teeth you have!'
'All the better to eat you with, my dear!'
But don't worry, the ending of Little Red Riding Hood has tended to get happier (and fairer) as it's travelled through the centuries; so that nowadays, even if Little Red Riding Hood does get eaten, she generally ends up safe and sound.
Word To use Today: ride. This word comes from the Old English rīdan, and before that it was probably something to do with the Old Norse rītha.