Why fairy tales are really scary tales

 作者:怀槭     |      日期:2019-02-28 09:03:04
By Penny Sarchet ONCE upon a time there was a girl who was so sweet and kind that everyone loved her. So begins the story of Little Red Riding Hood. You may think you know it – but which version? In the tale told to you as a child, did Red Riding Hood outsmart the wolf, or did a local woodsman come to her rescue? Was her grandma retrieved alive from the wolf’s stomach or was she digested? Did the girl get into bed with the wolf? Were her misfortunes just bad luck, or was she asking for it? People of every culture tell each other fairy tales and the same story often takes a variety of forms in different parts of the world. The universal appeal of these fantastical tales is frequently attributed to the idea that they contain cautionary messages: in the case of Little Red Riding Hood, to listen to your mother, not stray from the path, and avoid talking to strangers. “It might be what we find interesting about this story is that it’s got this survival-relevant information in it,” says anthropologist Jamie Tehrani at Durham University in the UK. But his research suggests otherwise. By exploring how fairy tales have changed and evolved as they spread between cultures, he believes he has discovered what truly makes them compelling. “We have this huge gap in our knowledge about the history and prehistory of storytelling, despite the fact that we know this genre is an incredibly ancient one,” says Tehrani. That hasn’t stopped anthropologists,