Page images

Little Red Riding Hood.



HERE is something sad in most pretty stories, in most lovely strains, in the tenderest affections and friendships; but tragedy is a different thing from the indefinable feeling which lifts us beyond to-day into that dear and happy region where our dearest loves, and plays, and dreams, are to be found even in childish times. Poor little Red Riding Hood, with bright eyes glancing from her scarlet caplet, has been mourned by generations of children; but though they pity her, and lament her sad fate, she is no familiar playmate and companion. That terrible wolf with the fiery eyes, glaring through the brushwood, haunts them from the very beginning of the story;-it is too sad, too horrible, and they hastily turn the leaves and fly to other and better loved companions, with whose troubles they sympathize, for they are but passing woes, and they know that brighter times are in store. For the poor little maiden at the well, for dear Cinderella, for Roe-brother and little sister, wandering through the glades of the forest, and Snowwhite and her sylvan court of kindly woodland dwarfs. All these belong to the sweet and gentle region. where beautiful calm suns shine after the storm, amid fair landscapes, and gardens, and palaces. Even we elders sympathize with the children in this feeling, although we are more or less hardened by time, and have ourselves wandering in the midway of life met with wolves roving through the forest; wolves from whose cruel claws, alas! no father's or mother's love can protect us, and against whose wiles all warnings except those of our own experience are vain. And these wolves devour little boys as well as little girls and pats of butter.


This is no place to write of some stories, so sad and so hopeless that they can scarcely be spoken; although good old Perrault, in his simple way, to some poor Red Riding Hoods straying from the path, utters a



[graphic][merged small][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed]
« PreviousContinue »