(8/9/04 5:00 pm)
iron clothing replaces red hood in little red riding hood?|
In a different version/derivation of Little
Red Riding Hood, the story begins: Once upon a time, there was
a little girl who hadnít seen her mother in seven years. She was
forced to dress in iron clothes and was told "When you wear
out those clothes, you can go back to your mother."
My question: Does anyone know of another source/tale that involves iron clothing? Just wanted to see if that element was drawn from another source (or simply made up in this particular retelling). Thanks!
(8/9/04 5:04 pm)
Re: iron clothing replaces red hood in little red riding hoo|
I've never heard of this story before--it sound fascinating. Can you post where I can find it?
I don't know of iron clothing, but I believe in some versions of
"East of the
Sun, West of the Moon," the heroine has to wear out a pair
of iron shoes before she can find her love again.
(8/9/04 7:10 pm)
LRRH in iron clothes|
I was just given a DVD to look at by someone who just found out
about my fairytale fascination - it's an anime called Jin-Roh
and uses Red Riding Hood as it's basis for a story about turbulent
times post WWII. I'm not really a fan/avid follower of anime but
is it interesting how the tale is used. The main male protagonist
is given a book of Red Riding Hood by the sister of a little girl
who dies during a raid on the underground. He reads it while he's
re-training for a covert military group (the Wolves) and the tale
in the book begins with a girl that has to wear out her iron clothes
in a dungeon before she's allowed to leave and return to her mother...
Struck me as unusual yet vaguely familiar somehow. I'll try to get
to the rest of the movie soon but surely that's taken from some
other version of LRRH - perhaps a Chinese version? (I don't remember
having this but it's been a while...)
Here's the link for the official website for Jin-Roh:
(8/10/04 3:33 am)
Thanks for the suggestions, Veronica. The movie Ink-Gypsy referred
is exactly what I'm working on. I'm actually researching it as an
adaptation of LRRH. The movie is supposed to be an "alternate
reality" in which Japan has lost WWII, but to Germany. Hence
a lot of German themes/words running through the movie, such as
"Rotkappchen" on the book cover (LRRH in German), etc.
The male protagonist is equated with the wolf and even though LRRH
is first incorporated into the film as a voice over (reading the
text), the protagonist and the girl who gives him the book eventually
"become" the story in which she is LRRH and he, the wolf.
I've read that this may be interpreted as a response to Angela Carter's
work on lupine myth (I'm just getting to her story, "In the
Company of Wolves"), but from the wolf's perspective.
The LRRH version they used seem to be a compilation of different elements from old Italian & French oral versions, Perrault, and Grimm. The only piece I couldn't trace was the beginning about the iron clothing--although I suspect it's part of the director's revision...?
Thanks for all your help & suggestions, I really appreciate it!
(8/10/04 8:28 am)
I did quite a bit of reading on Little
Red Riding Hood recently (while writing an article on it for
the August issue of Realms of Fantasy magazine -- which will also
be posted on-line in the Autumn edition of the Endicott web site
in September)...and this is the first I've heard of the "iron
clothes" variant. I don't recall it being mentioned by Zipes,
in their books on the history of the tale.
If you find out more, will you let us know? 'Sounds fascinating.
Edited by: Terri Windling at: 8/10/04 8:30 am
(8/11/04 3:10 am)
Just found my answer in Yvonne Verdier's article, "Little Red
Riding Hood in Oral Tradition" (English translation in Marvels
& Tales, vol. 11 (1997): 101-23) today! Verdier cites several
versions from oral traditional in which the protagonist is unnamed,
but wears iron shoes or an iron dress. Just like the version I was
tracing from the movie, the girl must wear out the shoes/dress before
she can return to her mother/grandmother.
The story in the movie begins: Once upon a time, there was a little girl who hadnít seen her mother in seven years. Verdier also documents the seven years element and notes that children are hired at around age 7. The time of childhood during which the child is employed as herdkeeper (beginning at 7) generally ends at 14 (7 years later), which marks an entrance into youth. This coming of age theme sets up the wolf's later question to LRRH about whether she will take the path of pins/needles (symbolizing female rites of passage in rural French traditions).
Terri, I ironically found this citation from your post in May regarding werewolves and the bzou. You may be interested to know that the movie, Jin-Roh, explores the possible "human" side of the wolf character (but the wolf identity ultimately wins). I don't believe it's a coincidence that the moon is in many key transitioning scenes, perhaps marking the transformation of the man into the wolf (or, werewolf w/ the full moon), especially when he kills the LRRH character at the end. Thank you for all your help; your post on the werewolf informed my research tremendously. I look forward to reading your article when it comes out online!
(8/11/04 4:59 am)
Slightly off your subject, but this is interesting to me:
"Verdier cites several versions from oral traditional in which the protagonist is unnamed, but wears iron shoes or an iron dress. Just like the version I was tracing from the movie, the girl must wear out the shoes/dress before she can return to her mother/grandmother. "
Veronica rightly wrote that some East
of the Sun West of the Moon variants - or Animal Bridegroom
stories 425a - have this element. The young woman has to wear out
iron shoes or walking sticks - 7 or 3 - before she can be with her
lover/husband again. In at least one, if I'm remembering correctly,
she didn't have to perform any other task. She doesn't have to wash
a shirt, trick a troll, perform an Herculean domestic tasks; she
just must wear out the shoes or walking sticks.
Anyway, don't know if this helps at all. Probably not, but I'm intrigued.
(8/11/04 7:29 am)
Well, duh, I read the Verdier essay, and even quoted it in my article, and didn't remember the iron clothes. It was only a few months ago that I researched and wrote that article, too. I think my memory is turning into swiss cheese....<big sigh>
Thanks for the reminder, Esther!
I love the image of the iron clothes precisely because it's so evocative of those iron shoes in East of the Sun, West of the Moon.
(9/3/04 12:32 am)
I recently viewed the anime which contained this version of LRRH. Perhaps I am confabulating but it seems I once heard of a Nazi-German propaganda or indoctrination version of the tale. Perhaps the Jin-Roh LRRH is such a version. Has any one else heard of such a thing?
(9/6/04 11:30 am)
misc marginal associations|
Dunno if these will relate.... In some tales a male servant of a male is wearing iron bands around his chest, which break open when some trouble is ending. Not seeing her mother in seven years because the land has been invaded, and having to wear some sort of strange clothing, reminds me of the sources of my "Princess in Mouse-Wool". "Wooden Maria" has the heroine wearing a dress of wood which doubles as a boat iirc, but it is an incest-Cinderella variant.
I suppose an iron dress might make it a bit hard for the wolf to eat her. If a werewolf is to win, she'd better not meet a princely alchemist who transforms her iron clothes into shining silver armor....
(9/7/04 2:13 pm)
Other iron shoes|
Let's see: In Hans-My-Hedgehog the princess wears out three pairs of iron shoes while looking for her husband.
In the original Wizard
of Oz, Dorothy's slippers are silver. (Okay, so that's not technically
And let us not forget the chastity belts of medieval Europe!
(9/19/04 12:15 pm)
Re: misc marginal associations|
In some tales a male servant of a male is wearing iron bands
around his chest, which break open when some trouble is ending.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember reading that in a version
of Frog Prince/Iron Henry?
Iron Henry was the servant to the Frog Prince, and the bands would
only break if his master was returned to his original form.