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Editorial

Trying to fool the innocent?

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By EMN Updated: Aug 17, 2013 11:33 pm
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[dropcap]A[/dropcap] Chinese zoo used a large and long-haired dog, a Tibetan Mastiff, and tried to pass it off as an “African lion” in the People’s Park of Luohe, in Henan Province, and which replaced exotic exhibits with common species. The fraud came to light when a customer’s son complained that the animal in the cage labeled “African Lion” was barking. China is famed for subtle humour although conveyed obliquely. But this episode surpasses the normal boundaries of trying to fool the public and had to be exposed, of all people, a little boy!Similar stories abound in reality or folk tales the world over. A little boy also happened to expose a king’s dress which was supposed to be invisible but actually he was naked having been misled by two rogues who ordered bales of silk but did not produce any king’s dress.
A 1927 story anthology revolves around a girl called Little Red Riding Hood. She walks through the woods to deliver food to her sickly grandmother (grape juice and banana bread, or wine and cake depending on the translation). She was ordered to stay strictly on the path.
A mean wolf wants to eat the girl, and the food in the basket. He secretly stalks her behind trees and bushes and shrubs and patches of little grass and tall grass. He approaches Little Red Riding Hood and she naïvely tells him where she is going. He suggests the girl pick some flowers, which she does. In the meantime, he goes to the grandmother’s house and gains entry by pretending to be the girl and waits for her disguised as the grandma.
On arrival, the girl notices that her grandmother looks very strange. She then comments on the big eyes, big hands and big mouth of the wolf, at this the wolf jumps out of bed and attempts to eat her.Her loud screams that follow are heard by a woodcutter in the woods.
He comes to the rescue and with his axe, cuts the wolf. Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother emerge unharmed. Some versions of this old tale say the grandmother and Little Trf Tiding Hood fill the wolf’s body with heavy stones. The wolf awakens and tries to flee, but the stones cause him to collapse and die.
The tale makes clear contrast between the safe world of the village and the dangers of the forest, conventional antitheses that are essentially medieval but no less relevant even today. The tale parallels how an innocent victim can be taken in by a criminal mentality, therefore, facilitating a crime or harm against a vulnerable victim through mischievous intent.
It also warns about the dangers of not obeying the mother. A similar theme is also reflected in the Russian tale Peter and the Wolf, and the other Grimm tale, The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids, but its general theme of restoration is at least as old as Jonah and the Whale. The theme also appears in the story of the life of Saint Margaret and in the epic “The Red Path.” The dialogue between the mean wolf and Little Red Riding Hood has its analogies to the Scandinavian tale of Norse Þrymskvið.
Such stories are quite familiar among most folk tales of the world. Why is it that a lot of people think they can fool the public in broad daylight? Such attempts are an insult to human intelligence anywhere. Perhaps such people could do with a dose of their own medicine.

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By EMN Updated: Aug 17, 2013 11:33:05 pm