Red is a distinctive color when it comes to folk tales, here follows ten moments of red.
1.Red is the color that is easily associated with passion, sin and anger. Quite strange it is that Little Red Riding Hood, wear this color as ”a symbol”. What hides under this now an innocent children’s story. Little Red Riding Hood is retold in countless varieties. One of the better is Roald Dahl’s cheeky woman that takes destiny into her own hands. The story should be read in conjunction with his version of «three little pigs».
2.Mister Bluebeard has a ”blue” beard, but in one of the Norwegian variant he is called «Mons Redbeard». In this wondertale there is blood, as Angela Carter illustrated in «The Bloody Chamber.» This highly inspiring story and recommended for those who are looking for another way to to tell a familiar story.
3.Red blood on white snow. A description that can be found in many folk tales, like the Norwegian folktale ”12 wild ducks”. Red blood on white snow, is a more poetic way of saying «white sheet red blood». Thus we speak about a virgin.
- ”The little red hen”, a folktale that there are many variations of. There is something very delicate and at the same time wildly comic with chickens. In my childhood there were chickens on the farm of my grandfather. It seemed like they strutted around and chatted with themself. To see them run, something they possibly was not created for, is some of the weirdest things on earth. In this story, the hen acts as a small entrepreneur who never gives up.
5.Snow White and Rose Red, yet another tale of Perrault or the Brothers Grimm if you prefer. One of the stories, which do not fire up on the jealousy between sisters. But not one of my favorites. It may be too rosy?
6.The red knight is a character in several Nordic folktales. A character that you absolutely should not rely on, he is slick and sly, is the character based on the fox?
7.I can unfortunately not find the source, but it is said that goddess and / or warrior Morrigan had red hair. This is an extraordinary character and note that she is not often told about. In fact, I have never heard anyone tell about her.
8.An interesting folk tales from Africa, ”The red and blue cloak”. A cloak that is split in two colors and causing a broken friednship between two good friends. The moral is that every issue has two sides. Actually a good story for several occations.
- Naturally, red associated with blood and vampires. In the book «Vampyr» by folklorist Arnfinn Pettersen, we meet the three «types» of vampires: the traditional, literary and popular culture’s vampire. The interesting thing is that the «traditional» image we have of the vampire: a pale, shadowy traveling man of higher class, dressed in black – is a literary figure, which has very little to do with the traditional one. The traditional vampire arose as an explanation of epidemics, which had very little erotic and attractive features. Several historical persons were accused of being vampires, but they appear as a small side note in ”the vampire tale”. This applies for example to Elisabeth Bathory who reportedly bathed in virgin blood and was convicted of murdering 650 people. Very geographically linked, anyone be accused of being (the traditional) vampire: you were born that way! If this was not enough: people who were difficult to deal with, sinners, people who committed suicide, troublemakers, people who died far from others, murded victims, people who died of stroke, people born on certain days and if an animal jumped over your grave, you could in all these cases be an vampire. Common to all vampires, is that you MUST be dead to be ”intended for this fate”.
The popular and literary vampire has arrived in a mixture of John Polidori, Lord Byron, Bram Stoker and Henry Irving. It is very interesting to read about the «relationship» between Stoker and Irving. Vampire’s hero status was nailed in popular culture by Anne Rice «The Vampire Confessions».
Did you know the vampire bat is named after the vampire and not vice versa.
10.One of the strongest images in red is «The Red Shoes» told by Hans Christian Andersen. Tragic story, fate determined, but with a really not too good end. Yet a story you can not forget.