The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids is a tale I know well. For what reason, I don’t know. It’s just been a story I have heard over and over again throughout my life.
The tale isn’t overly long. There is an old nanny goat with seven kids. Kids being a word here which could mean children or kids as in baby goats. One day she has to go to the forest. She tells the children to stay inside the house. She says to watch out for the wolf. She says that they will know the wolf from his rough voice and black paws.
Everything is fine for a little while, but the wolf knows the nanny goat is gone for the day. He waits a little while and knocks on the door. He says, “Open the door, dear children; your mother is here, and has brought something back with her for each of you.” The kids weren’t fooled. They knew by his rough voice that the being on the other side of the door was the wolf. The wolf went away, but not for long.
He then went to a shop and bought a lump of chalk. He then ate that lump of chalk. Gross(In some versions of the story the wolf eats sugar or honey to make his voice soft). This made his voice soft. He went back to the cottage where the little goats were. Again he says pretty much the same line as before. This time he sounds more like the mother, but he makes the mistake of putting his paw on the door. The little kids could see that this was the wolf and not their mother.
Again, the wolf goes away. This time he asks a miller to put dough and flour on his paws so they will be white like the nanny goat’s. Again he goes to the cottage and says that their mother is back and has brought something for each of them from the forest. This time the little kids open the door because the wolf sounds like their mother and his paws are white.
The scene becomes hectic when the wolf breaks into the cottage. All the kids rush to hide when they realize that it’s the wolf at the door and not their mother. The first kid hides under the table. The second kid hides in the bed. The third kid hides in the stove. The fourth kid hides in the kitchen. The fifth kid hides in the cupboard. The sixth kid hides under the washing bowl. The seventh kid hides in the clock case. We’re talking about a grandfather type clock here, not a plain old wall clock. The wolf finds all of the kids except the seventh who hid in the clock. He eats them all whole, then waddles away.
The nanny goat comes home and knows something isn’t right. The door the cottage is open. Inside was a mess. She couldn’t find her kids anywhere. She called them all by name, but none answered. Finally, she heard one little voice from the clock. It was the seventh kid.
The nanny goat took the kid out of the clock and he told her what happened. They went to find the wolf. He was fast asleep and his belly was distended from eating the six kids whole. The mother could see the kids wriggling around inside the wolf’s belly and she thought up a plan. She got her scissors and some thread. She sliced the wolf open and one by one her children came out of the wolf’s stomach. Then the kids and the mother put stones in the wolf’s stomach in place of the kids. Then she sewed the wolf’s stomach back up.
The nanny goat and her kids went home. When the wolf woke up he went to a well to drink some water, but the stones were so heavy that he fell in and drowned.
You will notice that this story doesn’t take into account all the dangers of surgery. During the time in which this story would have been told, surgery was not unheard of, but it certainly wasn’t the norm. People were more prone to medical treatments like blood-letting. It was some time between the beginning of surgery and the revelation that you should probably wash your hands before your perform surgery. Surgery is no small task, but this story definitely makes it out as if it is. I’m almost certain the wolf probably would have woken up during his kid-ectomy. “Ectomy” being a medical suffix meaning that something is removed.
This is not the only instance in a Grimm’s tale concerning cutting open the stomach of a wolf. In some versions of Little Red Riding Hood, the woodsman cuts both Red and Granny out of the wolf’s stomach after he has devoured them.
For all the talk of wolves in Grimm’s tales, they must have been a pretty big threat back in the day. If I walk outside my door and go somewhere, what I have to fear is not a wolf, what I have to fear is a car accident or a murderer. I don’t have to worry about wolves. I will admit that if I lived somewhere a little more wild, I would indeed have to worry about things like bears and mountain lions. These things just aren’t a concern where I live. At one point they were, but not now. I know it is quite common to be concerned about bears for people who live in the Rocky Mountain area. I think I would probably be concerned about bears too if I lived there.
I do recall that there was a voting campaign on Facebook to send rapper, Pitbull, to whichever Wal-mart got the most likes. Everyone decided to vote for one Wal-mart in a very remote part of Alaska. One of the items available, I heard, for Pitbull when he got there was bear spray, which is apparently a real thing. I guess it’s like pepper spray, but bear strength.
What I’m trying to say is that we’re not used to this idea of the wild encroaching upon us. We’re not used to the idea of having to be on the lookout for wild animals every time we leave our homes. This part of the story doesn’t relate to most of us. We’re too urbanized. Let me reassure you that, at one point in time, it was quite necessary to beware of the wild things that might eat you.
The most obvious theme in this story is that people might try to deceive you. It happens, it happens every single day. People put up false mannerisms and airs to beguile you. It may be a con man or it may be a close friend, but it happens. People will put on an appearance, in more ways than one, of something you know and love. They will do this to deceive you. The situation could be very mundane, for example, your child forging your signature on a permission slip. The situation could also be much more complex and fantastic, for example, you put a kid up for adoption, but now you’re rich, some con man hears about it and finds an actor who looks just enough like your long-lost child to be convincing. They then use this relationship to take your money. It sounds fantastic, but stranger things have happened.
This story is about teaching children to beware of deceivers. Actually, this story could be about teaching anyone to beware of deceivers. We all need a little help in that area from time to time.
When you’re feeling down because yet another so-called friend stabbed you in the back, remember that you should learn how to spot deceivers in your life. A wolf trying to dress up as anybody else is still a wolf.