“Please remain children so as not to lose acquired happiness”
On theimportance of fairy tales entire pedagogical treatises have been written. “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales”, wrote Albert Einstein. Because “the children won’t remember if the house was shiny and clean, but if you read them fairy tales” (Betty Hinman).
Writer Italo Calvino, one of the most important Italian storytellers of the second half of the twentieth century, was particularly interested in ancient and modern folk tales, always fascinated by that world. Among his works and writings we remember “Italian fairy tales, collected from popular tradition during the last hundred years” (Einaudi, 1956) and “Popular tradition in fairy tales” (Einaudi, 1973).
And we pay homage to the world of fairy tales and to Italo Calvino, who would have turned 97 on 15 October (he died in 1985), with one of the most popular fairy tales in the world, told in a nursery rhyme by Mimmo Mòllica: the “Little Red Riding Hood nursery rhyme“. The best known versions of «Little Red Riding HoodAre that of Perrault (1697) and that of the Brothers Grimm (1857).
But are fairy tales important even if they tell about evil wolves? Yes why it is not important to believe in fairy tales, it is important to tell them. And listen to them.
Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl
so elegant in her cape,
red the hood, red the skirt,
sewn with love by the grandmother.
One day mom made a tart:
«Now take it to grandmother who is ill.
Here’s the basket, it’s time for you to go,
however, be careful along that road ».
The child quickly took that basket
and he set out towards the woods,
along the way she met a wolf
and speaking quietly, she stopped.
“Hello child,” said the wolf then,
with that mischievous and dark look,
“Where are you going in such a hurry?”
“I’m going to my grandmother – he said – who’s waiting for me.”
“Does your grandmother live near here?”
the treacherous beast asked the child.
The little girl showed him where she lived
and the wolf ran away saying: «Brava!».
The wolf ran to granny:
“Son Cappuccetto, your granddaughter”,
with a deception the wolf in the house entered
and in one bite the grandmother devoured.
Without saying even a word
he went to bed under the sheets,
when the granddaughter entered the house
he saw the grandmother and marveled.
“Grandma, what big ears you have!”
– “It’s to feel better, my niece!”
“Grandma, what big eyes you have!”
– “It’s to see you better, my niece!”
“Grandma, what big hands you have!”
– “To hug you better, my niece!”
“Grandma, what a big mouth you have ..!”
– “It’s to eat you better …”
… and with a leap the wolf uncovered himself,
he jumped on the baby and swallowed her.
Sazio went back to sleep the evildoer,
just as a hunter passed
who entered the house and found him like this,
with a full stomach and immediately understood.
He opened the belly to the wolf, the hunter,
and without hesitation or fear
the little girl and her grandmother released
and the treacherous wolf then skinned.
This is the tale of Little Red Riding Hood,
and a big bad wolf,
but it’s just phenomenal fantasy,
it’s just a fairy tale, thank goodness!
Fairy tales are sometimes scary
but, my child, you are sure,
the story is only an adventure
which lasts as long as a reading lasts.
However, a lecture must be addressed
who listens to strangers:
if you really have to go into the woods,
never listen to a shady guy.
You know the wolf really exists
but he doesn’t eat grandmothers, frankly,
does not eat grandmothers, mothers, or children,
he only eats meatballs and kibble.
Grandmothers, who are wise and intelligent,
they wait for the wolf to fall asleep,
let the little girl fall asleep,
the story is over: “Goodnight, granddaughter!”
Mimmo Mòllica ©