The oldest version of Little Red Riding Hood was an Aesopic fable that dated from about the sixth century BC, however, there are about 65 variants of the same story in existance all around the world. The European version tells the story of a little girl who is tricked by a wolf masquerading as her grandmother, the Chinese version has a tiger instead of a wolf, and in Iran, where it would be considered odd for a young girl to roam alone, the story features a little boy.
The contemporary version of the story, as first written by Charles Perrault in 1697 was a thinly disguised morality tale, meant to warn young high-bred girls of the dangers of mixing with certain men. Perrault wrote as his moral: <i> Children, especially attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf. I say ‘wolf’ but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all.