Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood and Bill Cosby
Parenting using (appropriate) stories and the art of storytelling.
Malron Abrahams
If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise! Things just aren’t what they used to be. Remember the classic fairy tales, how they always began with “once upon a time” and ended with “and they all lived happily ever after”? Well it would appear that some of these delightful tales we’ve all grown up with were hiding far more sinister tales of woe than first meets the eye.

Witches, werewolves and superstitions

There are two recent film versions of Snow White and Little Red Riding hood which left me decidedly confused. Our beloved Oscar winning export from Benoni, Charlize, plays the wicked queen in Snow White and the Huntsman, which carries a 13 age restriction. There is nothing cute and cuddly about this version. It’s scary and dark and Charlize in particular makes you wish you never ever get on her dark side. It’s an interesting yarn about psychopathic revenge and dark magic. It’s also set back in the day when we still rode horses and churned our own milk, which makes you wonder about the superstitions back then.

Recently two skeletons were unearthed during an archaeological dig near Sozopol in Bulgaria dating back to the 12th and 14th century. The interesting thing about the skeletons is that both were pinned down with iron rods which are believed to have been a medieval tradition 'to stop the dead from turning into vampires.'

Makes you wonder what actually happened to give rise to these practices. The latest film version of Little Red Riding Hood spins a yarn about a teenager in love with a woodcutter. They live in a village of Daggerhorn, on the edge of a forest plagued by a werewolf. I immediately wondered who exactly the “big bad wolf and the three little pigs” really were…

The movie also has an age restriction that prevents kids from viewing it and rightly so. But do we change the original version of the events? Or did these dark versions really occur back in the 12th century and have parents being telling their kids these fables as cautionary tales ever since?

Should we continue telling these tales?

It just made me wonder where our classic fairy tales actually come from. Hansel and Gretel, one of Maddi’s favourites is about two kids being abandoned to the predators of the forest by their father and step-mom, only to end up in the clutches of a cannibalistic hag… Talk about parental abuse.

When you think about it and look into the deeper meaning, you could be forgiven for thinking that someone might be warning us of something far more sinister.

Modern storytelling

What’s Bill Cosby got to do with it I hear you ask? Well The Cosby Show is being repeated on the national broadcaster and I happened to watch a few shows and have become totally hooked. When last I saw it I was a kid and didn’t quite get the subtle nuances of parenting in action. But, viewing it now, it is clear that it is a veritable goldmine of good parenting skills and tips, tinged with Cosby’s inimitable comedic touch. Cosby’s way of dealing with parenting is classic and timeless which is why the show, even now after decades since being produced, still rings true. It’s not to be missed by any parent who might be looking for proven ways to solve sticky parenting issues.

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

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