My kids love watching a YouTube channel called “Pancake Manor.” The creators are a couple in Canada who remake/remix nursery rhymes making them upbeat, creative, and fun. They do an awesome job, really! But with my kids of all ages 10-1 loving these music videos, the thought of showing Christian parallels in Nursery Rhymes and Traditional Fairy Tales has not left my mind. So here it goes… Christian Parallels in Traditional Literature…
Little Red Riding Hood
Everyone knows the story of Little Red Riding Hood. The sweet, little innocent girl that arrived at her grandmother’s house to find a wolf dressed up like her grandma and ready to eat her. While the wolf is definitely a bad guy in the story, I think there is even more at play here than just a bad wolf. Let’s review the story, shall we?
One upon a time there was a little girl name Little Red Riding Hood. She wanted to visit her grandmother who lived on the other side of the woods. So, mom sent her with a basket full of fresh bread, jam, and a single piece of advice, “Do not talk to strangers.” One rule to follow, and we all know she didn’t not follow that rule. Does that sound familiar to anyone else… Genesis 2:16-17, “but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not ear, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Little Red skipped out of the house and down the path. “Oh, I know grandmother would love these beautiful flowers,” she said as she swooped down to pick up some flowers. “Ohhh another… and another.. and another.” When Little Red looked up, she realized how far she had come from her path. She turned around, walked back to the path, and put her flowers in the basket. Everyone thinks Little Red messed up when she talked to the stranger… the wolf… be really she messed up as soon as she took her eyes off her destination.
“What beautiful flowers you have, my dear,” a wolf said. She is distracted and easily takes the bait… Back to our Genesis story. The serpent didn’t just hand Eve an apple and say, “Here disobey God and get your husband to do it too.” He engaged her in conversation by misquoting God. Genesis 3:1, “Did God really say…” Four little words… with those four little words, Eve chose to engage the Serpent. Those four little words planted a seed of doubt. In truth, Eve didn’t know what God said directly, because He said it to Adam. But Adam surely told her the rule. As soon as she engaged the serpent, she left the door of her heart wide open.
“Thanks! They’re for my dear old granny who lives just down the path. I’m taking them to her right now. But my mother told me not to talk to strangers, so I must go,” said the naive little girl. Oh, this little girl… not only are you talking to a stranger, you are telling the stranger more information that he needs to know. Information he is about to use against you. And Eve does the exact same thing in Genesis 3. She not only engages the serpent, but she lets him control the conversation. Doubt has set in. How? Eve knows that God didn’t say she can’t eat from any tree… He was specific. But when Eve goes to answer the serpent, she misquotes God too, “ God said, `You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die…” Woops… doubt caused her misremember, forget, challenge, add to, not sure what the word is we are looking for. But if she had just stayed on that path and NOT engaged the serpent, this story may look very different.
Little Red takes off down the path. The wolf takes a short cut through the woods. He arrives at Granny’s house first. When Little Red get to grandmother’s house the wolf opens the door wearing Granny’s dress. “Come in. Come in my dear.”
“Here, Granny. I picked these flowers for you,” She said opening her basket.
The wolf reached out his paw.
“Oh Granny, what big hands you have!” Little Red literally walked right into the trap. Once she realized she had been tricked, she had nowhere to go.
“Better to hold my flowers, my dear.”
“Oh Granny, what big eyes you have!” Obviously, the girl has been alerted and does not buy into this, but what can she do?
“Better to see you with my dear…”
“Oh Granny, what big teeth you have.”
“Better to eat you with, my dear…”
“EAT ME!!! HELP!!!!!!!!” Call for help! Yes! Call for help!
Just then a hunter came running through the woods. He shot the wolf, saved Little Red, and found Granny hiding in her closet.
Not the ending you remember? Oh well, it’s the one I’m going with.
So, in our Genesis story, doubt seeped into Eve’s heart the moment she engaged in conversation with the serpent. As soon as she allowed him a foothold in her heart, problems began. But doubt was never the problem. God gave Adam and Eve free will because He wanted them to choose Him.
Eve, first with her eyes, saw that the fruit was good for eating.
Then with her mouth she tasted.
Then she gave some of the fruit to her husband.
After they both had eaten, their eyes were opened, and they realized they were naked. But unlike Little Red, Adam and Eve hid. They made themselves clothing and hid themselves from God. They disobey, sin entered the world, and now they would spend their days running from God rather than to God.
God knew that once sin entered His perfect world, only He could restore it. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Song, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).” In Little Red’s story, the hunter is the savior. In our story, Christ is the Savior!
See this story of Little Red Riding Hood perfectly shows human nature. We have rules and guidelines to protect us, yet we rebel. Maybe innocently like Little Red. Maybe purposely like the wolf. There are people out there who will lead you astray… A wolf in sheep clothing. We must guard our hearts and heed the wisdom bestowed upon us by those who care. But there is really good news! We do not have to do it alone! We have a real Savior who came to this earth to save us from our sin. He died on the cross to redeem you, the fallen creation.
Don’t let this story end here. Little Red Riding Hood, go home and tell your mom what happened (Repent. Admit your mistakes.) THEN- Go witness to the world about how the Hunter saved you from the Wolf.
Questions to consider:
Have you ever acted like Little Red Riding Hood and disregarded rules or wisdom meant to protect you?
Have you ever been tricked by a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
Have you ever been saved by a Hunter? How has Jesus saved your life?