"Oh, grandmother, what big ears you have!"We've been exploring the current summer exhibit of imagination and fun for children of all ages that is open at our Norfolk Botanical Garden. The garden describes this display as follows: "Enter the magical world of the Enchanted Storybook Forest, a collection of eight storybook playhouses created by local builders, architects and organizations. Each house is based on a classic children’s story or nursery rhyme with a plant, garden, nature or conservation theme."
"The better to hear you with".
"Oh, grandmother, what big eyes you have!"
"The better to see you with".
"Oh, grandmother, what big hands you have!"
"The better to grab you with".
"But, grandmother, what a dreadful big mouth you have!"
"The better to eat you with".
~ The Brothers Grimm Little Red Riding Hood
So far we have visited Jack and the Beanstalk and The Crooked Man. Today it is Grandmother's house from Little Red Riding Hood.
It seems that the story of Little Red Riding Hood has been told as a folk tale in many countries and under many names including "Little Red Cap", "Little Red Hood" and "Little Red Hat". It has been modified through the years. One early version ends with Little Red Riding Hood being eaten by the wolf... she disobeyed her mother, talked to a stranger, dawdled in the woods, left the path and paid the price... the wolf won.
The Brother's Grimm changed the ending.. yes, both Grandmother and Red Riding Hood were eaten by the wolf, but the Woodsman happens by and opens the wolf's stomach. At this point, Grandmother and Red Riding Hood pop out, no worse for the wear. They fill the wolf's stomach with rocks and when he wakes, he is thirsty.. goes to the well for a drink, falls in and drowns. I really didn't remember the ending as much as the middle of the story. It seems a bit improbable for a wolf to have two whole people in its stomach, alive... but the point of the story was that children should not wander or talk to strangers and should always obey their mothers. Never mind the impossible details.
My favorite version has Red Riding Hood escaping the wolf and calling for help with the Woodsman saving Grandmother. Everyone wins except the wolf.
Grandmother's house was adorable with an upstairs loft, a piano and a nice little bed in the corner. Kids were poking their heads through the figures of Red Riding Hood and the Woodsman, parents were snapping photos, little ones going in and out of the house and each wishing the house was in their yard. I loved the signpost in the yard and the little white picket fence and those precious flowers.
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